2022 Poet Bios

Nickole Brownnickolebrown01@gmail.comhttps://nickolebrown.com

Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. She’s the author of Sister, first published in 2007 with a new edition reissued in 2018. Her second book, Fanny Says (BOA Editions), won the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry in 2015. The audiobook of that collection became available in 2017. Currently, she teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she periodically volunteers at several different animal sanctuaries. A chapbook of Called To Those Who Were Our First Gods won the 2018 Rattle Chapbook Prize, and a long sequence called The Donkey Elegies was published as a chapbook by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. In 2021, Spruce Books of Penguin Random House published Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire, a book she co-authored with her wife Jessica Jacobs, and they regularly teach generative writing sessions together as part of their SunJune Literary Collaborative.

Jessica Jacobs jlgjacobs@gmail.comhttps://jessicalgjacobs.com

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books, 2019), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015), 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 has worked as a rock-climbing instructor, bartender, and professor, and now serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives 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). Her collection of poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis will be published by Four Way Books in 2024. She is the founder of Yetzirah, a nonprofit literary organization for Jewish poets.

Fred Joinerfred.curates@gmail.comhttps://www.fredjoiner.com

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.

Alan Shapiroshapalan@gmail.comhttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/alan-r-shapiro

Alan Shapiro has published 14 poetry collections (most recently, “Proceed to Check Out,” “Against Translation,” “Reel to Reel,” finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and “Night of the Republic,” finalist for both the National Book Award and the International Griffin Prize), 4 books of prose, including “The Last Happy Occasion,” finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, LA Times Book Prize, an award in literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, he is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is professor emeritus from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Book Poets:

Joan Barasovska –

Joan Barasovska lives in Orange County, North Carolina. She co-hosted a poetry series at Flyleaf Books and serves on the Board of the North Carolina Poetry Society. For thirty-five years, Joan has been an academic therapist in private practice. Her poems have appeared in Kakalak, San Pedro River Review, Flying South, Crossing the Rift, Red Fez, Speckled Trout Review, Main Street Rag, among other journals and anthologies. In 2020 Joan was nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. Joan is the author of Birthing Age (Finishing Line Press, 2018), Carrying Clare (Main Street Rag, 2022), and Orange Tulips (Redhawk Publications, 2022).

Alana Dagenhart – addagenhart@gmail.comhttps://www.alanadagenhart.com

Alana Dagenhart is a poet, artist, teacher, and traveler interested in the influence and impact of place on the native and the visitor. Her recent poetry highlights connections between her Appalachian roots and the cultural environment and experience of the sojourner in Central America. Her chapbook Blood was published by Finishing Line Press, 2016 and Yellow Leaves was published by Redhawk this year. She is professor of English at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte.

Cedric Tillman – cedricltillman@gmail.com

Cedric Tillman holds a BA in English from UNC Charlotte and graduated from American University’s Creative Writing MFA program. He is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and a former Nation Magazine (now Boston Review) “Discovery” contest semifinalist. Cedric’s poems appear in several publications including RHINO, Pleiades, Barzakh Magazine, Rove, The Manhattanville Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, Kakalak, and Home Is Where: an anthology of African American Poets from the Carolinas. In 2016, he was named a semifinalist in the Saturnalia Books & Cleveland State University Open Book Poetry competitions for IN MY FEELINS, his latest collection; he was also named a finalist for the University of Akron Poetry Prize. In 2017, he was named a semifinalist for the University of Akron, Philip Levine, and Pleiades Press Editor Poetry prizes, and a finalist for the Press 53 Poetry Prize; that same year, his poem the flag received Special Mention recognition for the Pushcart Foundation’s Pushcart Prize. In 2018, he was named a finalist for the Pleiades Press Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize. Feed My People (The Toxicology Prayer), published in RHINO in 2021, earned him second place recognition for the magazine’s Founder’s Prize. His debut collection, entitled LILIES IN THE VALLEY, was a semifinalist selection for the 2011 42 Miles Press Poetry Award, and was published by Willow Books in 2013. IN MY FEELINS was published by WordTech Poetry in 2019. Cedric hails from Lilesville, North Carolina and Charlotte, where he currently lives.

Jacinta Whitehttp://JacintaWhite.com

Jacinta V. White is the founder of The Word Project, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, and Deeper Dive Consulting. She is also the author of two poetry collections: Resurrecting the Bones: A Journey through African American Churches and Cemeteries in the Rural South (Press 53, 2019), and broken ritual (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Jacinta has received the City of Winston-Salem Outstanding Women Leaders Award; the Palm Beach Poetry Festival African American Fellowship; and the Duke Energy Regional Artist Grant. She currently serves as a trustee of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, and board chair of the DEI Council of Moulin Belle, an artists’ residency in France.

Liza Wolff-Francis – https://writeyourbutterfly.com

Liza Wolff-Francis has been selected as Carrboro’s new Poet Laureate, a unanimous selection by the Carrboro Arts Committee. 

Liza Wolff-Francis is an award-winning poet and writer whose work has been featured in publications and exhibits across the country. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and considers herself an eco-poet. 

Her poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines. In the spring of 2022, she won an Honorable Mention in the Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Contest for the North Carolina Poetry Society and was published in Pinesong

Liza Wolff-Francis is a fluent Spanish speaker and has facilitated writing groups in Spanish and English. Her book “Language of Crossing” — poems about the Mexico-U.S. border — was published in 2015. As a social worker, she has worked with Spanish speaking immigrant populations for 20 years. She wrote the play “Border Rising” from interviews with undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. 

In January 2023, Liza Wolff-Francis will follow Fred Joiner as the Carrboro Poet Laureate.