Deborah Mashibini-Prior

  • Poetry/Creative Writing
  • 2008


Deborah Mashibini-Prior is a published poet and adjunct English instructor currently living in Enfield, New Hampshire. She returned to school (SIU Edwardsville) in 2008 to complete an MA in English and refocus attention on her own poetry. That resulted in a career shift into teaching. Before that, Deborah spent close to 30 years working with nonprofits serving people with disabilities and those who are homeless in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, San Diego, and South Africa. She was also the founder of VSA Missouri, the state organization on arts and disability. Deborah's nonprofit work focused on serving as an advocate for artists living and/or working outside of the mainstream. As assistant director for the National Coalition for the Homeless in New York in the mid-1980's she began one of the first efforts in the country to offer support and outlets for artists living on the streets and in emergency shelters. Her Unforgotten Voices Creative Workshop facilitated exhibits, performance events and that work led to publication of Forgotten Voices/Unforgettable Dreams, an anthology that generated national press attention (including a stint on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show). In Deborah's 16 years with VSA New Mexico she ran an innovative AmeriCorps Program that recruited artists with and without disabilities to collaborate on community service projects, spent ten years as director of an arts-based day habilitation program serving adults with developmental disabilities, and facilitated a statewide career development support network for artists with disabilities. She has also served as a consultant with VSA Arizona and VSA Hawaii. Deborah came to the St. Louis area from the southwest in 2007. She worked briefly with That Uppity Theatre Company and with musician Zimbabwe Nkenya on a two-year series of free community music and poetry events through the BAG II (Black Artist Group II) collective at Scott Joplin House. Deborah is an award winning poet whose work has appeared in anthologies and journals including the HEArt Online, 2013 edition of The Black Pages and Community Annual Magazine, the No Vacancy anthology, American Society: What Poets See, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Sestina, Six Women Poets (Poetry Factory Press), Women in Black & White and Workshop II (Shirley LeFlore, Ed), the Harwood Anthology, Drum Voices Revue, Untamed Ink, and River Bluff Review. Deborah is also the author of Including People with Disabilities in Service in New Mexico: A Resource Manual and editor (or contributing editor) of four anthologies: Where we can read the wind and Blindness Isn't Black, two anthologies of work by Missouri writers and artists with disabilities, The Best of the Enabled Writer, an anthology of Prose and Poetry by New Mexican’s with Disabilities (co-editor Steve Brown) and Forgotten Voices Unforgettable Dreams, Writing and Art by Individuals Who Are or Have Been Homeless, (NYC).