Sarah Williams-Devereux is a poet and teacher of writing. She frequently draws upon her background—multiracial African American, Buddhist, living with chronic mental and physical illness, abuse survivor—exploring issues of race, sexuality, human connection, compassion, mental illness, and recovery. Many of her past personal and professional projects have focused on using words as vehicles for transformation.
She leads poetry workshops for the Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Workshops at Carlow University and is the managing editor for the annual Madwomen anthology, Voices from the Attic. She is certified in Amherst Writers & Artists writing group leadership, with training to lead writing workshops for traditionally silenced communities. She is also certified in Transformative Language Arts foundations from the Transformative Language Arts Network, where she volunteers on the classes and certification committees. She is pursuing her MA in teaching writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Pittsburgh Poetry Society.
Her poetry has been published/is forthcoming in F(r)iction Log, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Sampsonia Way Magazine, Pittsburgh City Paper, multiple volumes of the Voices from the Attic anthology (Carlow University Press), and the anthologies Show Us Your Papers (Main Street Rag, 2020), Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me? Women Over Forty Write on Aging (Social Justice Anthologies, 2019), Nasty Women & Bad Hombres (Lascaux Editions, 2017) and Pittsburgh Love Stories (The New Yinzer, 2004). She has been a featured poet on Prosody, the WESA-FM radio program dedicated to the work of contemporary writers. She has read her work widely through the Pittsburgh area.
She also has extensive experience in leading educational tours, artistic workshops, and community dialogues with diverse audiences through her past work in museum and art education, specifically at The Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. As an artist/educator at the Warhol, she co-facilitated daily dialogues for visitors to process their reactions to the 2001 Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America exhibit. In 2003, with Jamilla Rice, she co-led Free to Be: African American Women’s Hair Circle, part of Continuing the Dialogue: The Warhol Artist Educator Projects. These weekly reading- & writing-based discussions among a diverse group of Black women culminated in an exhibition at Artists Image Resource in Pittsburgh, PA. The Continuing the Dialogue projects won the Thomas Merton Center’s 2003 New Person Award, honoring art and activism.
As arts education coordinator at PITT ARTS at the University of Pittsburgh, she managed a two-year research project on African American young adult arts participation: leading focus groups, analyzing research, and co-authoring Our Stories, Our Selves: The African American Arts Project: A Study of African American Young Adult Arts Participation (PITT ARTS, University of Pittsburgh, 2006).
She also served as manager of education at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, developing education programs, collaborating with local cultural organizations, and graduating from the Arts Education Collaborative’s Leadership Academy for educators (K-12 and cultural organizations).
She was also a member of the Three Rivers Community Foundation’s grantmaking committee for ten years (committee co-chair for several of them), helping to fund grassroots social justice projects in southwestern Pennsylvania.