bio & work(s)

Marlanda Dekine (she/her/they/them) is Sapient Soul, a poet and social worker residing in South Carolina. She is the author and recording artist of i am from a punch & a kiss

Her work has been shared with USA Today, SC Public Radio, TEDxGreenville, Flycatcher Journal, Spark & Echo Arts, Minerva Rising’s Sparrow Trill, the Brighter Futures’ Conference for Child Abuse Prevention, the Children’s Trust Prevention Conference, the TogetherSC Summit, the Free Verse Poetry Festival and at open mics, poetry slams, & podcasts across the nation.

Marlanda is the Founder of Speaking Down Barriers, a nonprofit providing encounters that transform our life together across our human differences, using honest dialogue & spoken word poetry as its primary tools for healing & justice. She is the Co-Founder of Writers Well Youth Fellowship, a literary retreat for Black femme writers ages 14-19. She earned her BA in Psychology from Furman University and her MSW from the University of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry with NYU’s Low-Residency Writers’ Workshop in Paris. 

List of Works



·       Ars Poetica, a collaboration with composer, Douglas Boyce, and ensemble, counter)induction, 2021


·       thresh & hold, Gullah Preservation Society & The Rice Museum, 2021


·       “black history is…”, a collaboration with Waccamaw High School Jazz Band, 2020




·       “To listen”, chosen as finalist by Naomi Shihab Nye at Wick Poetry Center Call for Poems on Peace & Conflict Transformation, January 2020 [Publication]


·       “The Moon”, published by Shuddhashar Magazine in Norway with audio recording of poem streaming on digital streaming platforms, December 2019 [Publication]


·       “Getting Lighter”, published by Spark & Echo Arts in New York, November 2019 [Publication]


·       “what if?” from self-published book, i am from a punch & a kiss published in the anthology “Ecological Solidarities: Mobilizing Faith and Justice for an Entangled World”, Penn State University Press, November 2019 [Publication]


·      “i am from a punch & a kiss”, Religion Studies & English curricula at Wofford University, Spartanburg, SC; University of South Carolina College of Social Work curricula, Columbia, SC; Goose Creek High School English curricula, 2019


·      Fresh Voice of the Year Governor’s Award, SC Humanities, Columbia, SC, October 2019


·      “Paris”, self-published song and poem with audio recording streaming on digital streaming platforms, October 2019 [Publication]


·      “Mami Wata: An Evening of Transformation featuring Natalie Daise’s, ‘Becoming Harriet Tubman’, DJ SCrib, Miya Fowler, & Sara Makeba Daise, Speaking Down Barriers, Spartanburg, SC, October 2019 [Organizer & Host]


·      “Healing through Writing”, Riverside Baptist Church, New York City, NY, August 2019 [Teaching Artist]


·      Completed second residency with New York University’s Low-Residency in Paris, July 2019


·      “Ubuntu”, HIV Prevention & Education Summit, Philadelphia FIGHT, Philadelphia, PA, July 2019 [Performance]


·      “Radical Leadership: Are You Letting Yourself Be Yourself?”, Unitarian Universalist Church of
Spartanburg, May 2019 [Teaching Artist]


·       Keller Cushing Freeman Scholarship, Emrys Foundation, Greenville, SC, April 2019


·       Oral Historian, USC Upstate’s LGBTQ Oral History Project, Spartanburg, SC, March


·       “We Real Cool” on Gwendolyn Brooks & Mick Jenkin’s, “Gwendolyn’s Apprehension”,
Tapp’s Center for the Arts, Columbia, SC, March 2019 [Teaching Artist]


·      “black history is…” from book, i am from a punch & a kiss with Dan Hazard playing upright bass, Voices in American Art with Dr. Tuliza Fleming of National Museum of African-American History sponsored by The Johnson Collection, The Chapman Cultural Center, February 2019 [Performance]


·      Completed first residency with New York University’s Low-Residency in Paris, January 2019


·      Writers Well Fellowship Retreat, 2016-2019 [Teaching Artist]


·      Furman University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, “What Is Spoken Word?”, 2015 [Teaching Artist]


·      Hub City Writers Project Bookshop & Press, 2013-2018 [Board Member]


·      “i am from a punch & a kiss”, 2017, 2018, [Self-Published Author & Recording Artist]


·      Hub City Writers Project Bookshop & Press, Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition:
Region I, 2017 [Judge]


·      The Watering Hole, “The Art of Activism”, 2015 [Teaching Artist]


·      Spartanburg Soaring! Poetry Day, 2015, 2014 [Organizer & Host]


·      Slam Madness Poetry Slam Tournament, 2011-2014 [Co-Founder]


·      Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition: Region I, 2014 [Judge]


·      Spoken Word Spartanburg, 2013-2016 [Founder & Event Organizer]


·      Hub-Bub, 2011 [Performer & Volunteer]


·      Wits End Poetry, 2006-2014 [Performer & Volunteer]


·      Triune Mercy Center for the Homeless, 2007 [Teaching Artist & Volunteer]