Kory Wells (Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro)

Kory Wells is a poet, writer, storyteller, and advocate for the arts, democracy, afternoon naps, and other good causes. She’s the principal organizer of Poetry in the Boro, a reading and open mic series in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where in 2017 she was selected the city’s inaugural poet laureate. Kory’s performed her work for Southern Festival of Books, WDVX Knoxville radio’s Blue Plate Special, the 2017 Tennessee production of Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, and numerous libraries, theaters, conferences and other venues across the state and beyond, often in collaboration with her daughter, roots musician Kelsey Wells. Kory is author of Heaven Was the Moon from March Street Press. Her work appears in publications both nationally and abroad, including Helen, James Dickey Review, Ruminate, Stirring, and The Southern Poetry Anthology.

Mumina Ali (2019 Youth Poet Laureate of Nashville)

Born in Dadaab, Kenya and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Mumina Ali is an everyday advocate for women’s rights and seeing more women in STEAM fields. Ali hopes to either attend Emerson College or Howard University. She plans to become either a psychiatrist or civil rights attorney while also writing books and teaching at the college level. In her free time, she loves to read books from her growing library, research interesting facts, swim and hang out with her friends. When busy, she’s either managing funds as student treasurer, advocating for justice in Youth in Government, writing poetry in Write the Future, or exemplifying leadership as a Collegiate Ambassador. Mumina Ali is a proud senior at KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School.

Frank ‘Frizzy’ Sykes

I was born in Nashville Tennessee and raised in Columbia Tennessee. I became inspired to write from the many things in life. Seeing environments that were just not right, I decided to use spoken words to send messages to change not only the environments, but people’s lives. I’ve been performing the art form known best as Spoken Word since 2015.

Nathan Spoon

Nathan Spoon is the author of Doomsday Bunker (Swan World, 2017) and My Name is Gretchen Merryweather (hardPressed poetry, 2017). His publications include POETRYMantis,Hotel AmerikaOxford PoetrySpacecraftproject, and the anthology What Have You Lost? (HarperCollins). Senior Editor of X-Peri, he is a 2019 visiting poet in the Ruth Stone Foundation Reading Series, and has read his poems at the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University and the ALSCW Conference. 

Christine Hall

Christine Hall was raised in a trailer at the edge of the Adirondacks by cultist pornographers and troubadours. Inculcated with American mythology—tool girl calendars, bible stories, science fiction—she built on this education while hitching rides across the continent. Now at home in the Nashville arts community, Christine hosts the monthly Poetry in the Brew open mic. Her work has appeared in Out & About NashvilleCalliope, and Be About It zine, on MTA buses, and on stages with the Yoni Pearl Monologues and Cabaret Noir Collective.

Destiny O. Birdsong

Destiny O. Birdsong is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose work has either appeared or is forthcoming in African American ReviewBest New Poets 2018The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American LiteraturestorySouth, and elsewhere. Destiny has received support from Cave Canem, Jack Jones Literary Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, and Tin House. Learn more at destinybirdsong.com.