Day Eight is pleased to announce the finalists of the 2023 DC Poet Project competition: Tracye Funn, Cody Bock, Carlynn Newhouse, Chris Biles, and Brandon Douglas. The annual open-to-all poetry competition, currently in its seventh year, is designed to support local poets. The prize for the overall winner is a book contract with Day Eight. Past books published within the project included 2022 winner Dominic McDonald’s I’d Rather Be Called a Nerd and 2021 winner Jenn Koiter’s So Much of Everything.
Save the date for the culminating reading event, 2-3:30pm, May 7, 2023. At the culminating reading the finalist poets will each perform for ten minutes, and then attendees will live vote to select the 2023 DC Poet Project winner. The culminating reading will occur at the Anacostia Branch DC Public Library, 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE DC.
Register on eventbrite to attend the culminating event, Sunday May 7.
The featured poets in the 2023 DC Poet Project reading series also served as judges selecting the finalists, and they were: Anne Becker, Bernardine Watson, Shaquetta Nelson, Sarah Katz, Christopher Heuer, Ethelbert Miller, Jenn Koiter, Taylor Johnson, Rebecca Bishophall, Dwayne Lawson-Brown, Dominic McDonald, Regie Cabico, Sunu Chandy, and Ishanee Chanda. A guest judge participated in each preliminary round event along with the featured poets and those guest judges were Kelli Shewmaker, Katie Lee, Philip Pannell, and Brenda Richardson. The 2023 Poet Project reading series was hosted by Aaron Holmes, curated by Regie Cabico, and funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
The 2023 Poet Project Finalists
Tracye Funn calls her artistry a gift from God. She writes poetry under the name Nnuf Funn and recalls scribbling notes that rhyme as early as age 10. She crafts words for milestone occasions for relatives, friends, and co-workers and also enjoys creating poems in real time. She is a proud alum of Hampton University, cum laude with a BA in Mass Communications. She served as Host and Producer of a local community cable television show “Funn Around Town.” She is a Karaoke diva and a member of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD.
Cody Bock is an emerging creative writer who addresses topics of grief, memory, womanhood, and faith through poetry, short stories, and essays. When not writing creatively, she writes analytically–doing applied research in the international development space. Cody hails from Iowa, and spent two years in the Peace Corps before studying at Oxford. She is currently based in DC, where she enjoys frequenting the museums and walking in Rock Creek Park.
Carlynn Newhouse is a poet, host, performer, and educator. She is a National YoungArts Finalist, a Watering Hole Fellow, an Obsidian Fellow, and was the 4th ranked poet in the 2020 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She graduated from Howard University, and has been published in Button Poetry, Shelterforce, and more.
Chris Biles currently lives and works in Washington D.C. where she enjoys playing with the light and the dark, and losing herself in music, anything outside, and some words here and there. Chris was a finalist in the 2022 DC Poet Project, was honored by the Monologues and Poetry International Film Festival with an official selection in 2021, and is published in a number of literary magazines, journals, and anthologies in print and online.
Brandon Douglas, a product of the land known as Washington, D.C., began writing raps at age 12 and later fused poetry and hip hop as a tool of self-expression. He has opened for Maxwell and the late Gil Scott Heron, and performed at the Woolly Mammoth Theater, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Atlas Arts Center, the Phillips Collection, and Howard Theater. He is constantly working to grow as an artist, as well as a person, so that others may be moved to do the same.
View videos of earlier events in the 2023 Poet Project reading series events on Day Eight’s facebook channel.