The 5th Annual DC Poet Project Competition

The DC Poet Project is a poetry reading series and open mic competition. At the first five events in the poetry reading series the featuring poets at each event selected one open mic reader as the winner. Those prior-event winners are all invited to perform in this culminating event. At the end of this reading the audience will live vote to select one DC poet to receive a $1000 book contract.

The finalists in the 2021 Poet Project are:

Paul Grace Neal, selected from the Poetry of Activism event featuring John Johnson and REIL

Pacyinz Lyfoung, selected from the Nature Poetry event featuring E. Ethelbert Miller and Naomi Ayala

Dale Brown, selected from the Poets Laureate event featuring Kim B. Miller, Holly Karapetkova, and Grace Cavalieri

Jenn Koiter, selected from the Poetry of Faith event featuring Jane Schapiro, Lori Tsang, and Luther Jett.

Jeffrey Banks, selected from the Queer Poetry event featuring Marlena Chertock and Malik Thompson

To read biographies of the finalists visit

Details about the voting process for attendees:

The voting will be conducted at the conclusion of the event, after all five poets have performed. Only attendees in the room at the beginning of the performance will be allowed to vote at the end. We do this to ensure that all the poets are equally heard by all voters.

The 2021 DC Poet Project is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and produced in partnership with the DC Public Library and the Anacostia Coordinating Council.