Launch of the DC Poet Project

Talent is equally distributed through the population, but opportunity is not. It’s impossible for a poet to rise in the profession without a book. And you can’t get a book contract without a lot of individual poems published in the right places. And to get a lot of individual poems published in the right places you have to have the time to make submission after submission over a period of years. That means people without that kind of time to dedicate are unintentionally excluded from the top ranks of the profession. For that reason, Day Eight, with partnership and support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Lisc DC, DC Public Library, Brink Media, Upshur Street Books, individual donors and sponsors, and the featuring poets, is launching the DC Poet Project.

The DC Poet Project is a poetry reading series with open mic. At each event the Featuring Poets will select one ‘winning’ open mic reader to receive a $100 cash award, and invitation to compete at the final event for a book contract.

Read on to learn more about the featuring poets and partners in this project.

Open mic space is limited, and half of the open mic spots spaces are reserved for walk-in/walk-up readers. To reserve an open mic spot before the event click here.

Abdul Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping, winner of the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by Fanny Howe. A two-time recipient of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Literature fellowship, he was a fellow at American University where he received his M.F.A in Creative Writing, and his poems have appeared in Gargoyle, A Gathering of Tribes, New Contrast, Poet Lore, Academy of American Poets and elsewhere. He will be Featuring at the event March 25.

Gregory Luce is the author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), and Tile (Finishing Line). His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, and anthologies. He was awarded the 2014 Larry Neal Award for adult poetry by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He will be Featuring at the event March 25.

Ethelbert Miller attended Howard University and received a BA in African American studies in 1972. A self-described “literary activist,” Miller is on the board of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive multi-issue think tank, and served as director of the African American Studies Resource Center at Howard University from 1974 to 2015. His collections of poetry include Andromeda (1974), The Land of Smiles and the Land of No Smiles (1974), Season of Hunger / Cry of Rain (1982), Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators? (1986), Whispers, Secrets and Promises (1998), and How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (2004). Miller is the editor of the anthologies Women Surviving Massacres and Men (1977); In Search of Color Everywhere (1994), which won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection; and Beyond the Frontier (2002). He is also the author of the memoir Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer(2000). He will be Featuring at the event April 1.

Melanie Figg has won many awards and fellowships for her poetry including fellowships from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations and a 2014 grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Her poems, essays and reviews have been published in The Iowa Review, LIT, MARGIE, Poet Lore and other journals. Melanie has an MFA in poetry and also curates Literary Art Tours in DC galleries. She lives in Maryland and has been teaching creative writing for 25 years at a variety of venues and in private consultation. She will be Featuring at the event April 1.

Joseph Ross is the author of three books of poetry: Ache (2017), Gospel of Dust (2013) and Meeting Bone Man (2012). His work appears in many anthologies and journals. He won the 2012 Pratt Library/ Little Patuxent Review Poetry Prize. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. and writes regularly at www.JosephRoss.net. He will be Featuring at the event April 8.

Danielle Evennou is a writer and performer who lives in her own 90’s sitcom: with a strong female lead, roaring laugh track, and the inevitable moral lesson. Her poetry and memoir have been published in apt, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Split Lip Magazine, and Words Dance. She lives in Washington, DC. Learn more about Danielle and her work at www.whatevennou.com. She will be Featuring at the event April 8.

BRINK is an award-winning digital agency based out of Washington, DC and Tucson, AZ. Brink works with diverse brands across the country and around the world on all aspects of digital marketing from concept to execution including: websites, videos, written content, social media, advertising and pr. BRINK incorporates capacity from our film distribution company – BRINKvision – and film production company – BRINKfilms – and work on many creative economy initiatives.

Upshur Street Books is the first independent book store to open in the District of Columbia in more than a decade. Located on Upshur Street in DC’s Petworth neighborhood, Upshur Street Books hosts readings and specials events highlighting authors and issues.