Our Board

Derrick Weston Brown
Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. He is the founding Poet-In-Residence of Busboys and Poets. He is a graduate of the Cave Canem and VONA summer workshops and is a participating author in the PEN-Faulkner Foundation’s Writers-In-Schools-Program. His work has been published and featured in such print journals and online publications as, Racebaitr, Colorlines and Bayou Magazine. You can follow him on social media on Facebook, Instagram @theoriginalDerrickWestonBrown or through DerrickWestonBrown.com
Regina YC Garcia
Regina YC Garcia is an award winning Poet, Language Artist, and English Professor from Greenville, NC. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received a BA in Speech Communication with a Concentration in the Oral Interpretation of Literature and East Carolina University where she received a Master's in Adult Education and a Graduate Certificate in Multicultural and Transnational Literature. Her book, The Firetalker’s Daughter from Finishing Line Press is due for release in March 2023.
E. Gale Greenlee
E. Gale Greenlee is a book nerd, freelance writer/editor and an independent literary and Black Girlhood Studies scholar from Greensboro, N.C. She holds a doctorate in African American literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her work focuses on representations of Black and Latinx girlhoods in kids and young adult literature. An aspiring children’s author, she’s currently writing about Black children and green spaces and researching the history of Black crafts at Berea College.
Faylita Hicks

FAYLITA HICKS (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. Born in South Central California and raised in Central Texas, they use their intersectional experiences to advocate for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people by interpreting policy’s impact on the individual using poetry, music, performance, and digital art. Their poetry, essays, and digital art have been published in or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Poetry, Slate, Texas Observer, The Slowdown Podcast, Yale Review, amongst others. Author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), A Map of my Want (Haymarket, 2024), and a debut memoir about their carceral experience, A Body of Wild Light (Haymarket, 2025). Find out more information on Faylita's involvement on the Grammy board and social justice projects on their website. 

Fred Joiner
Fred Joiner is a poet and curator based in Chapel Hill, NC. He is 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. His work has appeared in Callaloo, Gargoyle, and Fledgling Rag, among other publications. Fred has read his work nationally and internationally. Joiner has received awards and fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Image Courtesy of Thomas Sayers Ellis
Crystal Simone Smith

CRYSTAL SIMONE SMITH is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Routes Home (Finishing Line Press, 2013) Running Music (Longleaf Press, 2014), and Down To Earth (Longleaf Press, 2020). She co-authored, One Window’s Light, A Collection of Haiku, edited by Lenard D. Moore (2017), which won the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award for Best Haiku Anthology. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Prairie Schooner, POETRY Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku.

Chris Tonelli

Chris Tonelli is a co-founder of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC. He is the author of five chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections, most recently Whatever Stasis from Barrelhouse Books. He works in the Libraries at NC State University and is the co-director of the NC Book Festival and co-owner of So & So Books in Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Allison and their kids Miles and Vera.

Naledi Yaziyo
Naledi is the is the Co-Founder and Curator of Rofhiwa Book Café, an independent bookstore in Durham, North Carolina which brings together a curated, global selection of Black literature. A skilled researcher and media strategist, she adopts reciprocity as an ethic and works to proliferate opportunities for others in every area of her work. Her writing has appeared in Africa is A Country, the Daily Vox and the Mail & Guardian. She is a Fulbright Fellow (2016) and a Mandela-Rhodes Scholar (2015).