Born in Miami, Florida, Rhonda J. Nelson belongs to a family with multiple generations of musicians. She moved to Tampa, Florida, where she still lives, when she was two.
She is the winner of Writers Exchange 2000, sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc., a Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Fellow, a two-time recipient of the Hillsborough County Arts Council Emerging Artist award, and recent recipient of Hillsborough County Arts Council Individual Artist Award. Her collection Musical Chair is Anhinga Press's 2004 selection for the Van K. Brock Florida Poetry Series.
Her other collections include: The Undertow (Rattapallax Press, 2001) and Shadows & Light (Tampa Bay Review Press, 1991). Her poems have been published in Slipstream, The Panhandler, Survivor Magazine, Asheville Review, Apalachee Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Book of Hope, The Dexter Review, New CollAge, and Sandhill Review, among others.
She is the poet/artistic director for Irritable Tribe of Poets, a collective of instrumentalists and spoken-word artists who perform improvisational music -- actively mixing jazz, rock, funk, and world-music textures with sundry styles of poetry. Rhonda's solo CD project with the band, titled Kahlo, contains twelve narrative pieces on the life and art of Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.
Rhonda was a professional singer for four years before attending the University of South Florida, where she graduated with a degree in journalism.