And the finalists for the 2022 Poet Project are…

Day Eight is delighted to present the finalists for the last 2022 DC Poet Project: Dominic “Nerd” McDonald, Chris Biles, and Dale Brown. The finalists will now compete to win a $1,000 book contract from Day Eight Saturday, June 11, at 2:00 PM at the Shaw DC Public Library. 

Register using the Eventbrite page here.

Founded in 2017, The DC Poet Project is a poetry series and open-to-all poetry competition culminating in the publication of a new book of poetry by a DC author. Read more about the 2022 Poet Project series in the blog post here. New for 2022, one finalist was selected via written submission by series hosts Stuart Anderson and Regie Cabico.

Before the 2022 finalists perform on June 11, prior year Poet Project winners Jenn Koiter, Kevin Wiggins, and John Johnson will read their poetry. Immediately following the readings by the finalists, the  attending audience will live vote to select the 2022 Poet Project winner.


Dominic “Nerd” McDonald is a young Black entrepreneur and spoken word artist from various cities in Los Angeles, California. He has put his views on growing up in the inner city between two households, Hip Hop music, being a social outcast, college experiences, and more, on paper and created everything from screen plays to magazine articles. His passion comes from serving the community, especially through the arts. By writing from his heart and what he sees and hears, he hopes to be a “change agent” to the unheard. His journey led him to the DC Metro area where he plans to continue to spread influential messages as well as manage and mentor others who decide to walk the same path.

Dale S. Brown is the author of I Know I Can Climb the Mountain, a poetry book which sold out its first edition of 1,000 copies. She wrote four other non-fiction books and many articles, including one that was published in the Washington Post. Over 200 of her poems have been published in literary magazines and newspapers. She has performed her poetry at The Folger Library, Martin Luther King Library, Georgetown Hospital and other venues. She has read each year for Poetry Café, a program of the Arts and Humanities Division of Georgetown University. She was a featured reader for Words Out Loud and is frequently selected for Planet Poetry. This is her second time as a finalist in the DC Poet Project.

Chris Biles lives and works in Washington D.C. where her day-to-day involves the management of agricultural capacity strengthening programs internationally. She previously worked for conservation and environmental education organizations in California and Alaska, and for the United States Peace Corps in Tanzania from 2015 to 2018 where she focused on sustainable agriculture and water management. Chris graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BS in Conservation Biology where she studied at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and extensively in the Adirondack State Park of New York. She enjoys playing with the light and the dark, and losing herself in music, anything outside, and of course some words here and there. Her work has been published by Neon Door, Bourgeon, Exeter Publishing, Evening Street Review, Haunted Waters Press, Yellow Arrow Publishing, Signatures Magazine, FleasOnTheDog, Another New Calligraphy, and others. 


John Johnson was the 2018 winner of the DC Poet Project and through his win, 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.

Kevin Wiggins, aka, The Mysfit, was 2019 winner of the DC Poet Project and through his win Day Eight published his book, Port of Exit. Author Amy Woolard wrote about Port of Exit, “These poems, and this poet, are a gospel.” And poet Gregory Luce described, “Defying racial and gender conventions at every turn, these poems spark tears and laughter in equal measures.” Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Wiggins is a spoken word artist, storyteller, and playwright. His poetry stares adversity in the face and is unapologetic for the Black LGBTQ community with intensity, rage, compassion, and love.

Jenn Koiter was the 2021 winner of the DC Poet Project and through her win Day Eight published her book, So Much of Everything. Poet David Keplinger wrote about the book, “In this utterly gorgeous debut collection, Jenn Koiter has arrived as a poet whose voice is only matched by her remarkable intelligence.” Koiter’s poems and essays have appeared in Smartish Pace, Barrelhouse, Bateau, Ruminate, Copper Nickel, and other journals, and she lives in Washington, DC with three gerbils named Sputnik, Cosmo, and Unit.