National Black Poet Laureate Society

National Black Poet Laureate Society

with Tshaka Campbell, Dasa Ahanue, Dasha Kelly, Rhea "Sunshine" Carmon, and Black Atticus

Fri   Mar   22   2024 - 5:00 PM Regas Square

Knoxville’s current reigning Poet Laureate, Black Atticus, has curated two spoken word programs for Big Ears, weaving together diverse voices and perspectives celebrating the power of verbal artistry and storytelling in East Tennessee and beyond. Friday, March 22 sees members of the National Black Poet Laureate Society, including Tshaka Campbell, Dasan Ahanu, and Dasha Kelly alongside Black Atticus and Rhea Carmen, come together for an unforgettable evening of performance, lyricism, and verse.


Tshaka is the first black, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate and has authored three books of poetry entitled “TARMAN”, “MUTED WHISPERS”, “STUFF, I will write more”, and  “TUNNEL VISION” with one more on the way entitled  “LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER”.  His words have been featured in Bridges Review, BBC UK, Content magazine, Speakeasy vol 1, Liminal Animals, and Rigorous magazine, among others. Tshaka is the poetry editor for Caesura literary journal and various of their poetry anthologies. 


A self-described introvert with a very public profession, Dasan Ahanu is a North Carolina-based cultural organizer, artist, and scholar. As an accomplished cultural leader and poet, Dasan has appeared on NPR News, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and the documentary Poet Son, among other features. Through his work, service projects, and appointments, Dasan has shown incredible commitment to his home state, noting the creative artistry embedded in the fabric of North Carolina.

Dasan is a southern writer and performing artist who uses storytelling to deepen understanding and awareness of what’s happening around us. In addition, He thinks about how to present art in new ways, re-contextualizing the use of space while engaging various audiences. He partners with collaborators who believe in the possibilities of art and culture and are open to providing artistic experiences to the community.


Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, and creative change agent. She has authored award-winning poetry, essays, and fiction. A skilled engagement practitioner and an adjunct instructor, Dasha has even facilitated initiatives in Botswana, Mauritius, and Beirut as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy. She is a mainstage storyteller and host with The Moth, an alum of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and Poet Laureate Emerita for both the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin. Dasha’s nationally touring stage show, Makin’ Cake, serves audiences a unique conversation on race, class, and equity. She also voices commercials and audiobooks. Dasha will release a poetry anthology this fall, A Line Meant, and two novels in 2025, Baker’s Dozen and a 10th-anniversary reprint of Almost Crimson. Her nonprofit literary arts organization, Still Waters Collective, is preparing for its 25th anniversary next year.


Black Atticus, a luminary of the burgeoning Southern hip-hop movement, emerges as a captivating force, celebrated for his unparalleled wordplay and lyrical prowess. As a prolific songwriter and dedicated hip-hop practitioner, he employs his verses not only to entertain but to elevate awareness, provoke critical thinking, and facilitate the healing journey between the mind and spirit, the head and heart.

Currently reigning as the Poet Laureate of The City of Knoxville, TN, Atticus is also the visionary founder of “Poboys & Poets,” a platform that unites poetry and hip hop to create profound, socially conscious art. Moreover, he stands as a co-founding member of the influential Good Guy Collective, a dynamic group dedicated to artistic excellence and community engagement.


Award-winning wordsmith RheaSunshine is a force that weaves passion, purpose, and power into poetry. She is the creator and Executive Director of the 5th Woman Cohort, which explores the stories of women. Regardless of race, women share the same experiences, fears, joys, and more and the 5th Woman allows them to examine these moments without social and political barriers.

For 20 years, RheaSunshine has traveled the nation, sharing her gift of the spoken word and facilitating self-expression, liberation, and healing. This art form has led her to touch lives at universities and educational institutions as well as civic engagements and festivals. She has opened for such artists as Nikki Giovanni, Macy Gray, and Saul Williams and the world constantly expands to make room for her gift. Her upcoming fourth book release titled Through the Clouds explores her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

Knoxville, TN · USA



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