Born: August 22, 1954
Ohio connection: Birth
The eldest daughter of four children, Mary Elise Weems was born August 22, 1954, in Cleveland where her mother, Elaine B. Lacy, a lifelong resident, raised her. Weems started writing poems at the age of thirteen and found her vocation. Her creative spirit-eye has turned more and more outward to include her take on the African American experience from a personal and political perspective as well as the universal complexities of being a woman and anyone alive in the world. She attended John Adams High School, graduating in 1972. She started her higher education career at Cuyahoga Community College and transferred to Cleveland State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1984, and Master of Arts in Creative Writing in 1996. Weems went on to University of Illinois at Urbana and earned a Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education in 2001. Weems lives in Cleveland with her husband, James E. Amie, Jr. Weems has one grown daughter, Michelle from a previous marriage, and James has one grown son, Eddie. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education and Allied Studies at John Carroll University and works as a language-artist-scholar in k-12 classrooms, university settings and other venues through her educational consulting business, Bringing Words to Life.
2009 Ohioana Book Award Finalist for Poetry; 2007 and 2008 Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; 1996 Wick Chapbook Award; 1997 Chilcote Award for The Most Innovative Play by an Ohio Playwright.