Tracy K. Smith was appointed the 22nd United States Poet Laureate. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and three books of poetry. Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Duende won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body’s Question was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.
Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. In 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship, awarded to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. Her most recent collection of poems, Wade in the Water, was published in April 2018.
Chaun Ballard was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Bernardino, California, and has an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. For eight years now, he and his wife have been teaching in the Middle East and West Africa. Chaun Ballard’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in ANMLY (FKA Drunken Boat), Columbia Poetry Review, Frontier Poetry, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Puerto del Sol, Rattle, and other literary magazines. His work has received nominations for both Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize.
Tang Sauce was born and raised in Hartford, CT. He has been involved in the Hartford arts scene for years in productions like The Wiz, A Raisin In the Sun and Night Fall. He has hosted the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival and has been featured on the cover of CTNOW. Tang also has his own pandora.com station. Tang Sauce brings an old school Hip-Hop flow with a new school perspective, with which he spreads peace, love and positivity.
DJ Stealth, the DJ moniker of Asaad Jackson, began learning the craft at WQTQ 89.9 Qute FM. He approaches the art of DJing the same way one would approach the playing of a conventional musical instrument.