Poet Bios

Crystal Simone Smith will be leading a Zoom poetry writing workshop Friday, October 15th. at 7pm and also doing a reading.

Crystal Simone Smith

Crystal Simone Smith is the author of  two poetry chapbooks, Routes Home, Finishing Line Press (2013) and Running Music, Longleaf Press (2014). She is also the author of Wildflowers: Haiku, Senryu, and Haibun (2016). Her work has appeared in numerous journals including: Callaloo, Nimrod, Barrow Street, Obsidian II: Literature in the African DiasporaAfrican American Review, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. She is an alumna of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the Yale Summer Writers Conference. Smith is a Duke Humanities Unbounded Fellow. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and lives in Durham, NC with her husband and two sons where she teaches English Composition and Creative Writing. She is the Managing Editor of Backbone Press.

These Poet Laureates will be reading on Saturday, October 16th. starting at 5pm at Carrboro Town Commons.

William “Endlesswill” Davis

William “Endlesswill” Davis, 2016-2018 poet laureate of Hillsborough, NC,  is a spoken word artist who is dedicated to continuing the tradition of poetry in living form. Founded in a belief that creation and expression is one of the most valuable attributes gifted to humanity, Endlesswill uses writing to examine the spectrum of the human condition from a holistic point of view. Ambitious in his craft and performance, Endlesswill offers audiences unforgettable performances that evoke thought, introspection, and connection as a community.  William is a publisher, graphic design artist, basketball coach, teacher and manages to juggle all of that under the umbrella of being a father and husband.

Patrick Herron

Poet Laureate of Carrboro from January 2003 through January 2005, Patrick Herron was the founder of the first of Patrick Herron is a poet, artist and research scientist from Durham, NC, USA and former two-term Carrboro Poet Laureate. As a poet he created search engine-based poetics in the 1990s and has authored and appeared in several volumes of poetry, including Be Somebody (Effing Press 2008). His poems and essays have also appeared in Fulcrum, Jacket and Exquisite Corpse. His 1999 media project, p r o x i m a t e . o r g, was the first poetics website added to Rhizome, the permanent digital art collection of the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York City, US. Patrick Herron is a former research scientist at Duke University where he taught in nine departments and founded the Text Mining Lab to track and leverage the history of human measurement and AI.  In his capacity as a technology researcher Patrick has worked with the Obama White House, India’s Ministry of Agriculture, and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).  Despite his lack of consent, one of his most beloved inventions, a means for automatically organizing and describing very large document collections, is now used on a global scale by US federal agencies so they may read all of your electronic messages. Patrick continues his work at the intersection of language AI and technology studies in private industry. This reading marks his first public reading in four years.

Fred Joiner

Fred Joiner is a poet and curator based in Chapel Hill. He is the Poet Laureate of Carrboro and a 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian, the anthologies  Thoughts on the Power of Goodness (Chapel Hill Press),  Crossing the Rift (Press 53), All the Songs We Sing (Blair), and  FURIOUS FLOWER: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (Northwestern University Press), as well as Callaloo, Gargoyle, and Fledgling Rag, and other publications. Joiner has read his work, curated exhibitions and public programming nationally and internationally. Most recently, he guest-curated the exhibition Micro/Macro of the 2021 Masters of Fine Arts in Studio Art graduates for the Ackland Art Museum. Joiner is the board chair of the Orange Country Arts Commission and a board member of the American Poetry Museum and Arch Development Corporation.

Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is the 2016-2018 poet laureate of Carrboro, North Carolina. He is a writer, naturalist and entrepreneur. He lives in a rammed earth house with his wife Ilana Dubester. A child of Appalachia, Gary avidly reads poetry and Afro-Futurism, studies amphibian activities on full moon nights and was once chair of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. His book of poetry and occasional pieces, The Boy The Brave Girls was printed in 2016 by Human Error Publishing (Wendell, Mass).

Celisa Steele

Celisa Steele’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Poetry ReviewPrairie SchoonerCave WallSan Pedro River ReviewRaleigh ReviewTar River PoetryComstock ReviewPoetry South, and others and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry chapbook, How Language Is Lost, was published in 2011 by Emrys Press. She lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, where she served as the town’s poet laureate from 2013 to 2016.

CJ Suitt – photo by Shannon Kelly

CJ Suitt is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. He is the Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a reeenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many festivals, including Shakori Hills, and acted in Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments. As an educator, he has worked with young people awaiting trial, inmates, and high school and college-age men. He has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions and Growing Change. He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other. See all he offers us, at suittsyouwrite.com.

Gideon Young

Gideon Young is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and Carrboro Poets Council. Find recent and forthcoming poetry in Acorn, Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, North Carolina Literary Review, and Wales Haiku Journal. Gideon’s debut haiku collection my hands full of light was published by Backbone Press, April 2021. Prince Rivers: A Leader for Justice, a biography for young readers, is forthcoming from Gibbs Smith Education in Autumn 2021. He is co-author of One Window’s Light: A Collection of Haiku, published by Unicorn Press, 2017, winner of the Haiku Society of America Merit Award for Best Anthology. Gideon is a Fellow for A+ Schools of North Carolina, a K-12 Literacy Specialist, and stay-at-home Dad. His current work is with the Arts Education Partnership and the Education Commission of the States. Discover more at www.gideonyoung.com.