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2019 DC Poet Project

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Anacostia DC

Washington, District of Columbia 20020

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The DC Poet Project is a poetry reading series with connected open mic competition created by the non-profit Day Eight through funding from the DC Arts Commission and in partnership with the DC Public Library, Upshur Street Books, Brink Media, and Anacostia Coordinating Council.

* * UPCOMING SPRING 2019 EVENTS SUMMARY * *

D. Saturday March 30 at Martha's Table, 1:00-3:00 pm featuring poets Venus Thrash, Shaquetta Nelson, and Susan Meehan. Address: 2375 Elvans Rd. SE

E. Saturday April 6 at DC Public Library Anacostia Branch, 1:00-3:00 pm featuring poets Jeffrey Banks and Monica Leak. Address: 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE

F. Culminating event: Saturday May 11, 1:00-3:00 pm at the Anacostia Library. Come vote to select the winner of the 2019 DC Poet Project! Address: 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE


* * COMPLETED/PAST SPRING 2019 EVENTS SUMMARY * *

A. Saturday March 9 at the R.I.S.E. Center, 1:00–3:00 pm featuring poets C. Thomas and Regie Cabico. This is a special event celebrating the memory of DC Poet Essex Hemphill. Address: 2730 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

with guest Honorary Poets: Councilmember Trayon White, Philip Pannell, Marvin Bowser, Ron Moten

B. Free poetry workshop for adults and youth (min age 15) Saturday March 16 11:00am - 1:00 pm with Regie Cabico at Check It Enterprises 11:00-1:00, light lunch provided, no experience necessary. Address: 1920 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

C. Saturday March 16 at We Act Radio, 1:00–3:0 pm featuring poets E. Ethelbert Miller and Naomi Ayala. This is a special event celebrating Malcolm X, "By Any Means Necessary." Addresss: 1918 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE


*** UPCOMING SPRING 2019 EVENT DETAILS, INCLUDING POET BIOS ***

Event D: Poetry Reading and Open Mic Competition featuring poets Venus Thrash, Shaquetta Nelson, and Susan Meehan, in partnership with Martha's Table

Date: Saturday March 30

Time: 1:00 pm– 3:00 pm

Saturday March 30 at Martha's Table, 1:00-3:00 pm featuring poets Venus Thrash and Susan Meehan.

Location: Martha's Table, 2375 Elvans Rd. SE Washington, DC 20020

Are you a poet? Come read at the open mic Saturday March 30th for a chance at a hundred dollar cash prize, and selection as a finalist in the DC Poet Project.

Listen to poets Venus Thrash, Shaquetta Nelson, and Susan Meehan read their work, and stay to read your own poetry, or listen to other local poets read theirs. At the end, the featuring poets will select one open mic reader “the winner”, and awarded a one hundred dollar cash prize! The winner will be invited to compete in the final event, May 11th, for a chance to win a book contract with cash prize.

ABOUT POETS VENUS THRASH, SHAQUETTA NELSON, and SUSAN MEEHAN

Venus Thrash is author of The Fateful Apple, nominated for the 2015 PEN Open Book Award. Her poetry is published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Torch, Gargoyle, and additional magazines and book anthologies. In 2017, she was named co-editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, is co-director of the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series, and teaches at Trinity Washington University.

Shaquetta Nelson, known by her stage name R.E.I.L (real), was a finalist in the 2018 DC Poet project. At 16 she was one quarter of a slam team that competed in the Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam. She seeks inspiration from past and present life experiences to help the lives of other unsung souls.

Susan Meehan was winner of the 2017 DC Poet Project. Through her win the non-profit Day Eight published her book Talking to the Night. Subsequently she is author of, The Color of Truth (2018), and Goddesses Incognito (2019.) A retired civil servant, Susan worked as Mayor Marion Barry’s constituent service director for Ward Two, and subsequently as D.C.’s first Patient Advocate, providing services to the city’s drug and alcohol addicts.

Event E: Poetry Reading and Open Mic Competition featuring poets Jeffrey Banks, Monica Leak, and John Johnson

Date: Saturday April 6

Time: 1:00 pm– 3:00 pm

Location: Anacostia Branch DC Public Library 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE

Are you a poet? Come read at the open mic Saturday April 6th for a chance at a hundred dollar cash prize, and selection as a finalist in the DC Poet Project.

Listen to poets Jefrey Banks, Monica Leak, and John Johnson read their work, and stay to read your own poetry, or listen to other local poets read theirs. At the end, the featuring poets will select one open mic reader “the winner”, and awarded a one hundred dollar cash prize! The winner will be invited to compete in the final event, May 11th, for a chance to win a book contract with cash prize.

ABOUT POETS JOHN JOHNSON, JEFFREY BANKS, and MONICA LEAK

John Johnson was the winner of the 2018 DC Poet Project. Through his win, the non-profit Day Eight published Johnson’s book, Love for Her. Maryland poet laureate Grace Cavalieri called Love for Her, “A real find” and E. Ethelbert Miller wrote, “The poems are filled with wit, and wisdom.” A native Washingtonian and father of two, Johnson graduated from the University of the District of Columbia, and as a poet, playwright, actor, and producer, is dedicated to capturing the narratives of African Americans in Washington DC.

Jeffrey Banks, poetically known as “Big Homey,” has worked with artists including the late Fred “Rerun” Berry, gospel singer Maurette Brown Clark, Syleena Johnson, Dr. Bobby Jones & others, and has been featured in media including Essence Magazine, and Black Enterprise Magazine. His album, Exposed-The EP, is the poetic testimonial of a Christian Believer. A licensed minister and substitute teacher, he provides consultant service to non-profits for events and development. He was a finalist in the 2018 DC Poet Project.

Monica Leak, a graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS in Communication Disorders, South Carolina State University with a MA in Speech-Language Pathology, and North Carolina Central University with a MA of Library Science, was a finalist in the 2018 DC Poet Project. She is the editor and a contributing writer to Faith of our Founders, and has contributed writings for Lenten devotionals including “Surviving a Season of Suffering” and “A Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy.” She works as a speech-language pathologist in southern Maryland, and as a seminary librarian in northern Virginia.


*** PAST/COMPLETED SPRING 2019 EVENT DETAILS, INCLUDING POET BIOS ***

Event A Details: Poetry Reading and Open Mic Competition with Regie Cabico and C. Thomas, "Celebrating Essex Hemphill", in partnership with the Anacostia Coordinating Council.

A. Saturday March 9 at the R.I.S.E. Center, 1:00–3:00 pm featuring poets C. Thomas and Regie Cabico. This is a special event celebrating the memory of DC Poet Essex Hemphill. Address:
Date and Time: Saturday March 9, 1:00–3:00 pm

Location: the R.I.S.E. Center, 12730 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

Are you a poet? Come read at the open mic Saturday March 9th for a chance at a hundred dollar cash prize, and selection as a finalist in the DC Poet Project! Poets Regie Cabico and C. Thomas feature, along with special guest poets celbrating the memory of DC poet Essex Hemphill.

At the end of the event, the featuring poets will select one open mic reader “the winner”, and award a one hundred dollar cash prize! The winner will be invited to compete in the culminating “DC Poet Project” event, May 11th, for a book contract including cash prize.

ABOUT POETS REGIE CABICO AND C. THOMAS

Regie Cabico won The Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and took top prizes in three National Poetry Slams. His television credits include two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, NPR's Snap Judgement & MTV's Free Your Mind, and his work appears in over 30 anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, Spoken Word Revolution & The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

C. Thomas has blasted his story at Studio 2001 Art Gallery, Busboys and Poets, Angelina College, Howard University, Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Journey of Faith United Methodist Church, and was named a Pioneer of Poetry in 2015 in the National Underground Spoken Word Poetry Awards.

Event B Details: Poetry Workshop with Regie Cabico

Date: Saturday March 16

Time: 11:00 am– 1:00 pm

Location: Check It Enterprises 1920 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

Description: This poetry workshop will focus on the power of autobiography. While open to individuals of all ages, it is designed for adults, and seniors. In her poem, “Power”, Audre Lorde wrote,

"I am lost without imagery or magic
trying to make power
out of hatred and destruction."

In this workshop we will share personal stories, and create a timeline of our “up against the wall” moments, and victories. We will find imagery, using the things that bring us joy. All levels are welcome and this workshop is a safe and nurturing environment equally for the novice writer and the advanced poet. To ensure time for interaction and feedback, a total of 12 will be allowed in this free workshop.

ABOUT POET REGIE CABICO

Regie Cabico is a spoken word pioneer, having won The Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and later taking top prizes in three National Poetry Slams. Television credits include 2 seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, NPR's Snap Judgement & MTV's Free Your Mind. His work appears in over 30 anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, Spoken Word Revolution & The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. The Kenyon Review called Regie Cabico the "Lady Gaga of Poetry" and he has been listed in BUST magazine's 100 Men We Love.

Event C: Poetry Reading and Open Mic Competition featuring poets E. Ethelbert Miller and Naomi Ayala, celebrating the memory of Malcolm X - "By Any Means Necessary" in partnership with We Act Radio.

Date: Saturday March 16

Time: 1:00 pm– 3:00 pm

Location: We Act Radio, 1918 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE Washington, DC 20020

Are you a poet? Come read at the open mic Saturday March 16th for a chance at a hundred dollar cash prize, and selection as a finalist in the DC Poet Project.

Listen to poets E. Ethelbert Miller and Naomi Ayala read their work, and stay to read your own poetry, or listen to other local poets read theirs. At the end, Mr. Miller and Ms. Ayala will select one open mic reader “the winner”, and award a one hundred dollar cash prize! The winner will be invited to compete in the final event, May 11th, for a chance to win a book contract with cash prize. This is a special event celebrating the ideas of Malcolm X.

ABOUT POETS E. ETHELBERT MILLER and NAOMI AYALA

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs. For fourteen years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, Emory and Henry College awarded Miller an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. Miller is regularly heard on National Public Radio, and is host of the weekly morning radio show On the Margin which airs on WPFW-FM 89.3. Miller is also host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV. The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, published in 2016 by Willow Books, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet. His most recent book is If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press.

Born in Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala moved to the United States in her teens, eventually earning an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Writing in both Spanish and English, she is author of the poetry collections Wild Animals on the Moon (1997), and This Side of Early (2008). An educator and arts administrator, Ayala has received numerous awards, including the 2001 Larry Neal Writers Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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Washington, District of Columbia 20020

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