New Year, New Poetry: Announcing the 2022 DC Poet Project Series

Day Eight is pleased to announce our 2022 DC Poet Project events. Founded in 2017, The DC Poet Project is a poetry series and open-to-all poetry competition culminating in publication of a new book of poetry by a DC author. Each event includes reading by featured poets and an open mic. And at each series event the featured poets award a $250 cash prize to a winning open mic participant. Those winners are invited to compete in the culminating event to win a $1,000 book contract. New this year, two finalists will be selected via written submission and by series hosts Stuart Anderson and Regie Cabico. To read more information about the DC Poet Project and previous winners, click here.

The 2022 DC Poet Project series will feature exceptional writers in five events, at least three of which will take place online, and the last two of which are planned to take place at the Anacostia Library in DC. The schedule of events this year is as follows:

  • Saturday, February 5, 7-8:30 pm, online: Celebrating AfroLatinX Poets, featuring hosts Stuart Anderson and Regie Cabico and poets Ethelbert Miller, Maritza Rivera, and Shelina Farner. Link to register.
  • Saturday, March 5, 7-8:30 pm, online: Celebrating Venus Thrash, featuring host Regie Cabico and poets REIL, Luther Jett. Link to register to come.
  • Saturday, April 2, 7-8:30 pm, online: Celebrating The Great World of Days, featuring hosts Stuart Anderson and Gregory Luce and poets Jeffrey Banks, Anne Becker, and Jody Bolz. Link to register to come.
  • Saturday, May 7, 2-3:30 pm, in person at the Anacostia Library: Celebrating Asian-American Poets, featuring hosts Stuart Anderson and Regie Cabico and poets Lori Tsang, Pacyinz Lyfoung, and Ishanee Chanda. Link to register to come.

Each Poet Project event includes an open mic, and at each event one open mic participant is selected the ‘winner’ by the featured poets and awarded a $250 cash prize.

The 2022 Poet Project series will culminate on Saturday, June 11 at 2:00 pm, in person at the Anacostia Library, with a special reading event featuring previous winners of the DC Poet Project, including 2021 winner Jenn Koiter and 2018 winner John Johnson.


Check out the bios of the featured poets in the 2022 DC Poet Project:

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 was 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 NPR 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.

Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran who has lived in Rockville, MD since 1994. She has been writing poetry for over fifty years; is the creator of a short form of poetry called Blackjack and is the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press. Maritza is the author of About You; A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq; Baker’s Dozen; Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems and the Blackjack Poetry Playing Cards. Her work appears in literary magazines, anthologies and online publications and in the public arts project, Meet Me at the Triangle in Wheaton, MD. In 2011, Maritza began hosting the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat, “where the magic of poetry happens”, which takes place in Puerto Rico in 2022.

Shelina Farmer is poetically known as “TLoW” which is an acronym for “The Lover Of Words”. She is an emerging artist in the DC spoken word poetry community. The foundation of unique heartfelt subject matter in her poetry is what many feel but can’t express. The transparency of the life experience in her poetry resonates with her audiences through her relatability. TLoW is a sought-after spoken word artist gracing many stages in the Baltimore/Washington region. Besides multiple features over the past few months including Busboys & Poets, she’ll be featuring in the Philadelphia area later in 2022! She’s an avid supporter of the arts curating virtual programming, participating in poetry podcasts and performed for large social media audiences including features on Clubhouse.

Shaquetta Nelson, known as R.E.I.L., is a poet educator in D.C. area middle and high schools, and a regular in poetry series including Split Dat, Busboys and Poets, and Day Eight’s own D.C. Poet Project reading series. A D.C. native, at 16, Ms. Nelson was one quarter of a Maryland slam team that competed in New York City at the Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam. Her first book of poetry, Ashes to Justice, was

W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as The GW Review, Beltway, Potomac Review, and Little Patuxent Review as well as several anthologies, including My Cruel Invention and Proud to Be. His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington DC. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father, released by Finishing Line Press in 2015, and Our Situation, released by Prolific Press, 2018. A third chapbook Everyone Disappears was released in November 2020. Kelsay Books released Luther Jett’s fourth chapbook, Little Wars, in June 2021.

Jeffrey Banks is poetically known as “Big Homey”. His credits include ESSENCE Magazine, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Radio-One Inc., the CBS Early Show, BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine, performing nationwide, international broadcasts, multiple grant awards and publications through DC Public Libraries, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, Paris Lit Up and Day Eight.

Anne Becker is author of Human Animal, The Transmutation Notebooks: Poems in the Voices of Charles and Emma Darwin, and The Good Body. Also a teacher, working with poets putting together chapbooks and full-length collections, she was senior producer of Watershed Tapes, recordings of national and international poets reading their body of work. She is now a co-editor of Bourgeon magazine. A paper artist, she prints her poems on paper that she has made and works on collaboration projects with dancers and musicians.

Jody Bolz’s most recent books of poetry are The Near and Far and the novella-in-verse Shadow Play, both from Turning Point. She received her BA and MFA from Cornell, where she studied with A.R. Ammons, and taught creative writing for more than 20 years at George Washington University. Her work has appeared widely in literary magazines (The American Scholar, Ploughshares, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and Southern Poetry Review among them) and poetry anthologies. From 2002-2019, Bolz edited the journal Poet Lore, founded in 1889.

Lori Tsang was raised by a Chinese Jamaican mother and an “American” Chinese father in Connecticut and Indiana.  She currently lives in Washington DC, where she was identified as one of “100 People to Watch in the New Millennium” by Washingtonian Magazine. She received the 1997 Mayor’s Art Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist and a 1999 Artist Fellowship. She is the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have been published in Controlled Burn, Gargoyle, Crab Orchard Review, Drumvoices, and The Asian Pacific American Journal.

Pacyinz Lyfoung is a French-born, Hmong American woman poet. She currently resides in Washington, DC; however, she is Minnesota-grown, especially in her poetry. Her ears were opened to the possibility of becoming an Asian American poet after attending a reading by Bao Phi, then an emerging poet still in college. Her first poetic steps were taken as a Loft’s Asian Pacific Islander Inroad Fellow learning from Sherry Quan Lee. Since then, in between other life commitments, she has steadily developed as a non-MFA poet, taking BIPOC community poetry classes with Voices of Our Nations (VONA)’s incomparable teachers such as Elmaz Ebinader, Ruth Forman, and Sally Wen Mao (at the Jenny McKean Moore Workshop.) She has published in several journals and anthologies and is still working on her first poetry manuscript. She won the 2021 DC Poet Project’s “Nature” Reading Open Mic, officially establishing her as a dual citizenship Minnesotan and Washingtonian poet.

Ishanee Chanda is a prose writer and poet from Dallas, Texas. Having been born in India, much of Ishanee’s writing focuses on the struggles of being a first-generation immigrant looking for a home and identity in a different country. She has participated in the BlackBox Writer’s Residency Program, and was a part of the spoken word poetry scene in College Station, Texas known as Mic Check Poetry. Ishanee currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she works full-time in the field of immigration policy and research. Ishanee enjoys eating her weight in Thai food, singing loudly (and badly) to Taylor Swift, and playing the ukulele just to make people smile.

Jenn Koiter is the author of So Much of Everything (Day Eight). Her poems and essays have appeared in Smartish Pace, Barrelhouse, Bateau, Ruminate, Copper Nickel, and other journals. She lives in Washington, DC with three gerbils named Sputnik, Cosmo, and Unit.