Henderson became connected to the Black Arts Movement through the Umbra Workshop, where he served as an editor of its magazine and the three Umbra anthologies. His best-known books of poetry are De Mayor of Harlem (1970) and Neo-California (1998), and he has read a selection of his poetry for the permanent archives of the Library of Congress.
The author of the lyrics to Sun Ra’s composition Love in Outer Space, Henderson has also recorded with saxophonists and composers Ornette Coleman (Science Fiction) and David Murray and the cornetist and composer Butch Morris. Henderson is the author of ’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child (2009), and the writer and producer of an award-winning documentary on African American beat poet Bob Kaufman for National Public Radio and the Pacifica Foundation.
Recent publications include prose and poetry in the anthologies Beats at Naropa (2009), Obama, Obama (2012), Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African American Poetry (2013) and Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (2014). A poet-in-residence at the City College of New York, Henderson has taught in its SEEK program and has been a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; State University of New York, Stony Brook; and Wesleyan University. Most recently he became the first fellow of lost and found at the Poetics Document Initiative at City University of New York’s Center for the Humanities.