Mercy Tullis-Bukhari is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer who finds inspiration from being a Bronx-bred Afro-Latina American, Honduran, and Garifuna of Jamaican descent. Her maternal grandparents are from Belize and her paternal grandparents are from Jamaica. They all immigrated to Honduras, where her parents were born. As a result, Mercy grew up eating curried goat with tortillas, oxtail, fried fish with tajadas, baliadas, goat rotis, machuca, and jerk chicken. And because she was and always will be a Bronx girl, she grew up eating lots of pizza in between all of the homeland dishes.
As the very proud first-generation child of immigrants, Mercy considers being Afro-Latina American to mean a total acceptance of self. She validates her identity by celebrating her ancestral roots and proudly acknowledges that being a Bronx bred, Black and Latina American woman is the ‘sopa marinero’ of who she is today.
Mercy graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, with a minor in English Education. She later received her Master’s from Herbert H. Lehman College in English Literature. More recently, she has decided to earn a Master’s in Fine Arts from The College of New Rochelle, in Creative Writing.
In her writing, she focuses on the female experience through explorations of individuality, motherhood, and sexuality. She has published two full-length books of poetry- Smoke (Blind Beggar Press, Inc.) and Mango (Ocean Taste Publications). Her third book of poetry, The Little Deaths I Barely Have, will be published by Get Fresh Publications later in 2021.
She is a Callaloo Fellow and was the Poet Laureate of the New York University 30th Anniversary Celebration Gala. She was also named one of the "8 Authors Bringing Afro-Latina Stories to the Forefront" by Remezcla magazine and was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2016 for her essay “Black Dolls for Everyone,” published in the anthology All the Women in My Family Sing, edited by Deborah Santana. Two of her essays were published and recorded for Read 650: Where Writers Read on YouTube - "Spanish 1" and "When Mami Put a Gun in My Hand." The piece that she is proudest of is "Naming It," dedicated to her daughter, in which she writes about acceptance of self and body with raw honesty and love.
As an educator, she has always been based in her hometown, The Bronx. She is a tenured high school English teacher, having been in the NYC Department of Education system for 22 years. Mercy believes that as an educator, destroying the racial divide in education should be her primary purpose as she facilitates her lessons daily. She is passionate about teaching her students the importance of persistence, self-love, discipline, and self-acceptance in the face of the many challenges they encounter as young people of color in the Southeast section of The Bronx.
Being a mother to her son and daughter is Mercy’s most important role. She also enjoys doing poetry readings throughout New York City, has contributed poems to music producers for compilations and is actively completing her first novel during quarantine.