Carla Blank is a writer and editor. She co-edited the anthology, Bigotry on Broadway (Baraka Books, 2021) with Ishmael Reed. Her non-fiction book, Storming the Old Boys' Citadel: Two Pioneer Women Architects of Nineteenth Century North America, is co-authored with Canadian architectural historian Tania Martin (Baraka Books, 2014). She is author and editor of the 20th century historical reference Rediscovering America: The Making of Multicultural America, 1900-2000 (Three Rivers Press, 2003), which carries the imprimatur of Before Columbus Foundation. With Ishmael Reed, she co-edited the anthology Powwow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience, Short Fiction, From Then to Now (Da Capo Books, 2009). She was contributing editor on three other anthologies edited by Reed: Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002 (2003); MultiAmerica, Essays on Cultural Wars and Cultural Peace (1997); and Califia, The California Poetry (1979). Her topical essays related to arts and culture have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, the Buffalo Evening News, El Pais, Alta, Konch and CounterPunch.
Carla Blank has also been a performer, director, dramaturge and teacher of dance and theater for over fifty years. Following her debut as a choreographer in Judson Dance Theater Workshop performances of the 1960s, Blank's years devoted to creating original performance works with youth through aged adults provided the basis for a 2-volume performance arts handbook, Live On Stage! (Dale Seymour Publications, 1996 & 1997; Pearson Education, 2000), coauthored with Jody Roberts. She directed Reed's "Living Newspaper" styled play, The Conductor, in two three week showcase runs at the Off-0ff Broadway venue, Theater for the New City in 2023. From 2021-2022 she directed and choreographed Reed's play, The Slave Who Loved Caviar, also produced by Theater for the New City. Among her other directing and dramaturg credits are The Domestic Crusaders by Wajahat Ali (2003-2011); News From Fukushima: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet, a multidiciplinary work by Yuri Kageyama that premiered at New York's La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in 2015, which was developed at Z Space in San Francisco in 2018, with those 2018 performances documented by Yoshiaki Tago into a internationally exhibited film of the same name; and KOOL - Dancing In My Mind, in a collaboration with Robert Wilson, a multidisciplinary performance portrait and homage to Suzushi Hanayagi, the late Japanese choreographer and dancer that premiered at NYC's Guggenheim Museum's Arts & Process Series in 2009. Blank's research and images from the Guggenheim performances are included in both "SUZUSHI HANAYAGI: A Moving Life," a half hour film by Richard Rutkowski, which aired on ARTE and the Sundance channels, and Rutkowski's hour length film based in this work, "The Space In Back of You," which premiered at Lincoln Center's Dance on Camera Festival in January, 2012.
Carla Blank serves as editorial director of the Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, supervising its poetry and prose projects, including Guayacán, a new poetry collection by Victor Hernández Cruz (2023); King Comus, a novel by Williiam Demby (2017); and Rock Piles Along the Eddy, a poetry collection by Ishmael Hope (2017).
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she resides in Oakland, California, with her family of writers, Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed.