Born in Heidelberg, Germany, and raised in Southside Jamaica, Queens, New York City, Sean Frederick Forbes is the author of Providencia (2013). Sean identifies as Afro-Latino and connects to the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. Recent poems appeared in various journals including Chagrin River Review, Crab Orchard Review, Long River Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Sargasso: A Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language and Culture. On March 17, 2014, his poem “Cashel Man” was featured online through the Poem-a-Day, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. On June 2, 2014, he appeared on WNPR with John Dankosky on a feature titled The Art and Power of Poetry, a conversation with four Connecticut-based poets on how poetry influences the writing life following the passing of Maya Angelou.
Sean’s maternal and paternal grandparents and his mother were born in Isla de Providencia or Old Providence, a mountainous Caribbean island part of the Colombian department of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Providencia’s total landmass is roughly five miles with a current estimated population of 5,000. Many inhabitants claim West African, European, and of course mainland Colombian ancestry. It was the site of an English Puritan colony in 1629 established by the Providence Island Company and was briefly taken by Spain in 1641, and there have been major political battles between Nicaragua and Colombia over which nation has rightful ownership of the islands.
Sean studied English and Africana Studies at Queens College, The City University of New York, where he was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Connecticut. In 2009, he received a Woodrow Wilson Mellon Mays University Fellows Travel and Research Grant for travel to Providencia, Colombia.
Sean has lived in Heidelberg, Germany, and Sierra Vista, Arizona while his father was a Platoon Sergeant in the U.S. Army. His parents separated when he was four. Sean and his mother began living in Southside Jamaica, Queens in 1983. His maternal grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother raised him within a tight-knit family unit.
Since 2013, Sean has been the poetry and nonfiction reader for the journal Westview published by Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He serves on the Board of Directors of 2Leaf Press. Sean leads professional learning and growth workshops for elementary and secondary school teachers who seek to advance creative writing to the language arts curriculum. Besides reading and writing, of course, he enjoys traveling and the worlds of interior design and fashion.
Sean was the associate director of Humanities House, a living and learning community, at the University of Connecticut during the 2013-2014 term. Currently, he teaches creative writing and poetry, and serves as the interim director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut.