The Biography of Jessica Holter

Jessica Holter Biography - Author Poet - The Punany Poets Latoya Smith Art House

Jessica Holter thinks of herself as an adult foster child, who is grateful for the opportunity to raise children who might otherwise be lost in the system as she once was. But the world-renowned orator is a powerhouse on the urban poetry scene, best known as the founder of a nonprofit community theater project commonly known as The Punany Poets.

Holter was a freelance Hip-Hop entertainment journalist, writing for The San Francisco Bay Guardian, 4080, Hipno, Huh, and Root Magazines when Rapper Eric 'Eazy E' Wright announced he had AIDS. In response, she self-published her first anthology, Punany: The Hip Hop Psalms with a musical soundtrack produced by Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone’. Now only available among rare book collectors, the controversial coffee table hybrid of poetry, nudity, and Hip Hop energy shocked the world with its audacious conversation about Black Female Sexuality when she created an erotic sketch show for HBO Real Sex Producer, Patti Kaplan in the year 2000. The Punany Poets were brought back by popular demand on Real Sex 26 “Lessons in Love & Lust."

Verbal Penetration was Holter’s first book to be published by Zane in 2007. She contributed to the anthologies Journey to Timbooktu: An African-American Poetic Odyssey by Memphis Vaughn and A Dream Deferred, A Joy Achieved: Struggles of Struggle and Triumph by Cherise Nesbit. She made an appearance in the Independent film "Silence: In Search of Black Female Sexuality," directed by Mya B. She was featured on Life Track and Live with Ed Gordon on Black Entertainment Television and spent time on the couch with Lexington Steele on Lex in the City. She made two appearances on Night Calls 411 with Tera Patrick and Crystal Knight on Playboy TV. Playboy Radio put Holter's voice in rotation and Playgirl Magazine put The Punany Poets on a cover. Recent interviews with Jessica Holter on The Breakfast Club, Rolling Out, the Jenny McCarthy Show, and Sway in the Morning are online. 

Holter had launched a fan-supported national tour of her theater show before reaching academic acclaim with Dr. Raquel Monroe's Representin' the Forbidden: The Punany Poets, Black Female Sexuality, and HIV, and Performance (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2006). Holter's work is examined again in the essay "Oh, No! Not this Lesbian Again" in Clare Croft’s Queer Dance: Meaning and Makings. Always on the cutting edge of the Black sex conversation, Holter wrote her first novel The Punany Experience: The War Between Tops and Bottoms to address sexual fluidity and gay labels, more than a decade before it was trending. 

Today Holter enjoys her grassroots celebrity with the occasional event appearance or book signing while running her nonprofit organization Holter Intellectual Property, Inc. She is working on two novels and a complete catalog of her poetry and looks forward to a great partnership with Developmental Editor and Literary Agent, Latoya Smith. 

If you are looking for Jessica Holter, you can find her in Atlanta, but she will always be an Oakland girl who survived foster care, was trained in combat by the ARMY, and was ushered into Black-womanhood at Howard University in Washington, DC. Visit Jessica Holter at