Julie Funderburk is author of the poetry collection The Door That Always Opens from LSU Press and a limited-edition chapbook from Unicorn Press. She is the recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her work is forthcoming in Pleiades and appears in Cave Wall, The Cincinnati Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. She teaches at Queens University in Charlotte.
Maureen Ryan Griffin: “Ten Thousand Cicadas Can’t Be Wrong”
Maureen Ryan Griffin has taught the art and craft of writing for over thirty years through a wide variety of venues, including Chautauqua Institution, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and Queens University in Charlotte. An award-winning poetry and nonfiction writer, she’s published in Calyx, Chelsea, and The Texas Review, among others. Her books include Spinning Words into Gold: a Hands-On Guide to the Craft of Writing; How Do I Say Goodbye: A Companion in Grieving, Healing, and Gratitude; TAG, I’M IT! Daily Journal and Practice; and her latest collection of poetry, Ten Thousand Cicadas Can’t Be Wrong. Maureen offers coaching and writing classes, through her business, WordPlay, including an online poetry course, Poetry Rocks!
Charles Israel, Jr.: “What the Next Cornell Box Might Contain”
Charles Israel, Jr., teaches creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. His poetry chapbook, Stacking Weather, was published by Amsterdam Press. He’s also had poems and stories in Crazyhorse, Field, The Cortland Review, The Adirondack Review, Nimrod International Journal, Pembroke Magazine, Zone 3, Journal of the American Medical Association, and North Carolina Literary Review. He likes to read ancient epic poetry and contemporary creative nonfiction about voyages and journeys, sports and war. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Leslie.
Dannye Romine Powell: “My Mother-in-Law Sent Sassafras Bark”
Dannye Romine Powell has won fellowships in poetry from the NC Arts Council, the NEA and Yaddo, and is a two-time winner of the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Georgia Review, The New Republic, Harvard Review Online, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Paris Review and many others. Her fifth collection, In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver (Press 53) won the 2020 Roanoke-Chowan Award from the N.C. Literary and Historical Association. She is also the author of Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers.
John Amen is the author of several collections of poetry; most recently, Illusion of an Overwhelm (New York Quarterly, 2017). His poetry and reviews have appeared in various publications, including Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Los Angeles Review, Exclaim!, PopMatters, The Brooklyn Rail, and Colorado Review. He is a Staff Reviewer for the music magazine and website No Depression. He founded and edits Pedestal Magazine.
Karon Luddy: “To a Congenitally Hungry Friend Whom You Saw for the First Time in 20 Years”
• Originally published in South Carolina Review, Fall 2011
• Read the Poem
Karon Luddy was born in Lancaster, SC, the fourth of six children of hardworking, salt of the earth parents, and moved to Charlotte in 1976. During a midlife renaissance, Karon resigned from Apple Computer to pursue her lifelong passion—literature. In 2005, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from Queens University, yet poetry has been a constant in her creative life. 2007 saw the publication of her first book of poetry, Wolf Heart (Clemson University Press) and her first novel, Spelldown (Simon & Schuster). Karon is currently working on a poetry collection, Circling God.
Lisa Zerkle is a poet and editor whose poems and reviews have appeared in The Collagist, Southern Poetry Anthology, Broad River Review, Tar River Poetry, Nimrod, storySouth, Cider Press Review, among others. Her poem “Relics of the Great Acceleration” won the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. She was a community columnist for The Charlotte Observer and a founding editor of Kakalak, an anthology of art and poetry from the Carolinas. Her previous or current board service includes the Charlotte Writers Club, North Carolina Poetry Society, CPCC’s Sensoria Literary Committee, and Charlotte Lit. She is the curator of 4X4CLT, a public art and poetry series of the Charlotte Center for Literary Arts and an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.
Tarik Kiley: “Musing XIII”
• Originally published in Musings of a Lonely Mind (2016)
• Read the Poem
Tarik “Mixed Thoughts” Kiley is a local musician who plays piano, drums and latin percussion. He is also a poet who writes in the Hip-Hop style. He published his poetry book, Musings of a Lonely Mind, in 2016, written in the Hip Hop form. This book consists of poems written while in deep thought and reflecting upon personal and societal issues. Tarik continues to create music and also serves as vice-president of Guerilla Poets.
David E. Poston: “The League of Failed Superheroes”
• Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Atlanta Review.
• Read the Poem
David E. Poston has work forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine, North Carolina Literary Review, Crack the Spine: The Year Anthology 2020, and The MacGuffin, among others. He is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Slow of Study (Main Street Rag), editor of a quarterly poetry feature for the Friends of the Gaston County Public Library newsletter, and a co-editor of Kakalak. He lives in Gastonia with his wife Bee.
Deborah Bosley is the owner and principal of The Plain Language Group, LLC. Deborah has written for, or been interviewed by Kiplinger,The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Investment News, The Federal Reserve, The Wall Street Journal: This Weekend radio broadcast, and other print and social media. She is a Professor Emerita of English after spending 20 years as a tenured professor of English at UNC Charlotte. Prior to her consulting and academic life, Deborah was the President of Illinois Writers, Inc., a committee member of the Illinois Arts Council, and a published poet. She holds a Certificate in Arts Management from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Diana Pinckney: “Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six, 1907”
Diana Pinckney has five collections of poetry, including her most recent, The Beast and The Innocent. She is the Winner of the 2010 Ekphrasis Prize, Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Prize and Press 53 Prime Number’s 2018 Award. Her work has appeared in Cave Wall, Arroyo, RHINO, Emrys Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, Green Mountains Review, Main Street Rag and other magazines and anthologies. Pinckney admits to being addicted to writing persona and ekphrastic poems, and has led workshops on both forms for Charlotte Lit.
Gail Peck is the author of eight books of poetry. In 2021, she was awarded the Irene Blair Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award. Her first full-length book, Drop Zone, won the Texas Review Breakthrough Contest; The Braided Light won the 2014 Lena Shull Book Contest. Poems and essays have appeared in Southern Review, Nimrod, Greensboro Review, Brevity, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Comstock Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart and for Best of the Net. Her essay, “Child, Waiting,” was cited as notable by Best American Essays.
Gilda Morina Syverson: “On an Ordinary Day”
• Awarded 3rd Place by the Association of Italian Canadian Writers, and published by Sweet Lemons 2: International Writings with a Sicilian Accent, and subsequently in her collection Facing the Dragon.
• Read the Poem
Gilda Morina Syverson is a poet, author, artist and educator. She has published two books of poetry: Facing the Dragon and In This Dream Everything Remains Inside (Main Street Rag). Her award-winning poems and prose include her memoir, My Father’s Daughter, From Rome to Sicily. Gilda’s poems have appeared in Crucible, Cold Mountain, Descant, Italian Americana, Voices in Italian Americana, ACCENTI, Italian Canadian Magazine and numerous others. She is a long-time memoir instructor having taught at Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte Lit, The Warehouse, and many private classes and workshops. She has spent the last number of years writing more poetry and her second memoir about a healing path.
Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award and Goldie Award, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal andlives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/PenguinRandomHouse). She is at work on a collection of poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.
Martin Settle is a poet and assemblage artist. He has masters degrees in English and Communications and has taught for 32 years, the last 17 at UNC–Charlotte. He is the author of Coming to Attention: developing the habit of haiku (2016) and a poetry collection, The Teleology of Dunes (2015), both published by Main Street Rag. In 2016, Mr. Settle won The Poetry of Courage Award (North Carolina Poetry Society), the Nazim Hikmet Award, and the Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award.
Angelo ‘Eyeambic’ Geter is an award-winning poet & spoken word who currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rock Hill, SC. Geter is a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, a National Poetry Slam champion, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam finalist, Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam finalist. His work has appeared in All Def Poetry, Post & Courier, Charleston Currents, and the Academy of American Poets “Poem a Day” series. Most recently, his work was featured in the “Power of Goodness” anthology published by Chapel Hill press. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection.
Ashley Memory’s poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in more than 75 magazines, websites, and anthologies, most recently in The Sun, O. Henry, The Rumpus, and Solstice Literary Magazine, which named her essay ‘’Of Needles and Kindness” a finalist for the Summer 2020 Michael Steinberg Nonfiction Prize. Since April 2020, she writes a monthly column on submission for the award-winning global website, Women on Writing, and she is also a critique editor and judge for their quarterly nonfiction contest. Learn more at ashley-memory.com.
David Radavich: “Offering”
• Originally Published in the journal Third Wednesday, and subsequently in his collection The Countries We Live In (Main Street Rag, 2014).
• Read the Poem [PDF, opens in a new tab]
Among David Radavich’s recent poetry collections are two epics, America Bound (2007) and America Abroad (2019), along with Middle-East Mezze (2011) and The Countries We Live In (2014). His plays have been performed across the U.S. and in Europe. His forthcoming collection later this year is Unter der Sonne / Unter the Sun: Poems in German and English from Deutscher Lyrik Verlag.
Irene Blair Honeycutt: “The Village of Argostoli”
• Irene reads this poem in honor of her friend Angelina Korinis and in memory of Angelina’s mother, Rena Matiatos Gaitanidi (1929-2019), who loved her home in Argostoli.
• Originally Published in Waiting for the Trout to Speak (Novello Festival Press, 2002)
• Read the Poem [PDF, opens in a new tab]
• Bonus Listen: Hear Garrison Keillor read Irene’s poem “Blessing.”
Irene Blair Honeycutt has published four poetry books: Beneath the Bamboo Sky (Main Street Rag 2017); It Comes as a Dark Surprise (Sandstone Publishing 1992), winner of the New South Poetry Book Series; Waiting for the Trout to Speak (Novello Festival Press 2002); and Before the Light Changes (Main Street Rag 2008), finalist for the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. She founded Central Piedmont Community College’s Spring Literary Festival, now known as Sensoria. Upon her retirement, the college established a Distinguished Lectureship in her name. She lives in Indian Trail, NC, remains active in the writing community, and is working on her fifth poetry manuscript.
Jaki Shelton Green: “i know the grandmother one had hands”
Jaki Shelton Green, ninth Poet Laureate of North Carolina, is the first African American and third woman to be appointed as the position. She is a 2019 Academy of American Poet Laureate Fellow, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment, and 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature. Jaki teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies and was named the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC Chapel Hill. Her publications include: Dead on Arrival, Masks, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Feeding the Light, and i want to undie you. On Juneteenth 2020, she released her first poetry album, The River Speaks of Thirst. Jaki is the owner of SistaWRITE, providing writing retreats for women writers in Ocracoke, Sedona, Arizona, Martha’s Vineyard, Northern Morocco, and Tullamore, Ireland.
Kathie Collins: “Serpent Sets the Record Straight”
Charlotte Lit co-founder Kathie Collins is a writer, poet, and lifelong student of Jungian psychology. She thrives in the in-between space from which dreams, creativity, and stories emerge. Kathie is happiest when she’s sharing that space with others and delights in the process of helping students transform their lived experience to gold. Kathie co-leads and serves as a memoir coach in Charlotte Lit’s Authors Lab program. She earned her Ph.D. in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she also serves as adjunct faculty. Kathie’s poetry has appeared in Kakalak, BibleWorkbench, Immanence, and Between. Her chapbook Jubilee was published by Main Street Rag in 2011. She’s currently writing a memoir made up of short prose poetry-like vignettes.
Larry Sorkin: “Poetry’s Problem”
• Originally Published in Uncomfortable Minds (Bonhomie Press, 2021)
Larry Sorkin is a some-of-the-time North Carolina poet, a part-time business man, and an occasional performer of poetry with The Bechtler Ensemble. He presents workshops exploring the connections between poetry and fine arts, dance, music, and depth psychology. He is poet-in-residence at the Airy Knoll Arts Project. Poetry didn’t come to Sorkin until his forties when he fell under the infectious influence of Robert Bly. He considers it a calling to spread the passion. He often holes up on his ridgetop overlooking the Piedmont, daydreaming into the fields and onto paper. His poetry collection, Uncomfortable Minds, was published in 2021.