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Board of Directors

Regie Cabico appears outdoors with greenery in the background. He wears a silver shirt and smiles as he gestures with both hands toward the viewer.

Regie Cabico is an original founding board member of Split This Rock and Artistic Executive Director of Capfire Spoken Word Arts, a non-for-profit focused on promoting spoken word arts by publishing emerging and established poets as part of Capturing Fire Press and priducing Capturing Fire: An International Queer Slam & Summit. Mr. Cabico is a pioneer of the poetry slam having won The Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and is a 3 time National Poetry Slam Finalist. His work appears in over 30 anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Spoken Word Revolution, Chorus, and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. He co-edited Poetry Nation,: A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry and guest editor for Beltway Poetry Quarterly. His solo show Godiva Dates and One Night Stands received critical acclaim at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival. He has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and through Howard Zinn's Portraits Project at NYU, has performed with Stanley Tucci, Jesse Eisenberg, and Lupe Fiasco. He is a recipient of a 2008 Future Aesthetics Arts Award Regrant from The Ford Foundation/Hip Hop Theater Festival, three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships for Poetry and Multidisciplinary Performance, The Larry Neal Awards for Poetry, and numerous DC Commission for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. He received the Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers for his work teaching at-risk youth at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Other recipients include Arthur Miller, Sharon Olds, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Edward Albee. He is a former Artist In Residence at NYU's Asian Pacific American Studies Program and has served as faculty at Banff's Spoken Word Program and Kundiman. As a theater artist he has directed two plays for the 2007 and 2008 Hip Hop Theater Festival, Elegies In The Key Of Funk and The Other Side. He received three New York Innovative Theater Award Nominations for his work in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind with a win for Best Performance Art Production. The Kenyon Review recently named Regie Cabico the "Lady Gaga of Poetry" and he has been listed in BUST magazine's "100 Men We Love."

A white man with light blue eyes smiling and looking directly into the camera leaning against a tan wall Charles Doolittle is currently a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPD). He covers a range of issues pertaining to teachers and principals, most recently including the development of Title II, Part A Guidance and final release of the teacher preparation regulations. He also covers special populations: homeless youth (participating in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness), neglected and delinquent youth, disconnected youth, and youth involved in juvenile justice and correctional education; in other words, students most likely to fall prey to the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Charles has dedicated his career to supporting efforts that increase equitable access to educational opportunity, what many have called one of the great civil rights issues of our time. In the words of Lerone Bennett, Jr., "An educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor."
Dwayne Lawson Brown appears against a white background wearing a plaid short-sleeved button-up shirt and a brown and yellow crochet hat. He crosses his arms, leans over, and looks toward the viewer. Dwayne Lawson-Brown aka the “Crochet Kingpin” is a DC native poet, activist, breakdancer, and CEO of Crochet Kingpin LLC. Dwayne is one of the hosts of DC's longest running open mic series, Spit Dat, as well as host captain for the Busboys and Poets 450K location.

In addition to featured readings at every Busboys and Poets location, SAGAfest Iceland 2015, Spirits and Lyrics NYC and Manassas, Woolly Mammoth Theater, and the C2EA “We Can End AIDS” march, Dwayne’s short form poetry prowess led him to win the Best Haiku Award at the 2011 National Underground Spoken-Word Poetry Awards (NUSPA). His work to increase HIV awareness through spoken-word garnered recognition from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, BBCAmerica, the Discovery Channel, and The Washington Post.

After the 2019 release of his long-gestating collection of poetry "One Color Kaleidoscope", Dwayne stepped into his purpose, curating art/performing space for Whitman-Walker Health's RealTalk DC, The Kennedy Center REACH, and The Strathmore. In 2020, Dwayne joined the Board of Directors for Split This Rock; helping amplify the voice of youth across the Washington DC Area.
A white woman with short blond hair and glasses, wearing a rainbow shirt and leopard print hat smiles into the camera. She is in front of a forest background. Susan Scheid, Board Chair, is a poet and activist. Her first book of poetry After Enchantment is a collaboration with original art from her sister, Elizabeth Scheid. Susan has won Honorable Mention in the 2018 Moving Words Competition. Her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, About Place, Truth to Power, Beltway Quarterly, Little Patuxent Review, The Sligo Journal, Silver Birch Press, Tidal Basin Review, and other journals. Susan’s work is also included in the anthologies, Poetic Art and Enchantment of the Ordinary. Susan has facilitated writing workshops and served as Artist in Residence at the Noyes School of Rhythm. In addition, she has been a reader for Split This Rock Poetry Contests and the Parkmont Poetry Festival.  She lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC, where she helped open a community-owned grocery in the early 1990s. Susan is chair of the Board of Directors for Split This Rock, and has assisted with planning for Split This Rock Poetry Festivals since 2014.
Danez Smith appears wearing a mint green t-shirt and a gold necklace. They hold both hands behind their head and laugh with their eyes closed. Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Homie (Graywolf Press, 2020), Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award, and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez's work has been featured widely including on Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, the 2020 Pushcart Prize Anthology, on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness.
Marlena Chertock appears in front of a white background and leans against a wooden railing. She smiles while looking toward the camera and holds an open book. She wears a black dress, denim jacket, and multicolored infinity scarf.

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). Marlena is a bisexual poet and the Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival. Along with local poet Malik Thompson, she cultivates inclusive literary programming that reflects and uplifts LGBTQ communities, manages coordinators and volunteers, and oversees the publication of the festival’s journal. She also serves on the Board of Split This Rock. A 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee, Marlena uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific poetry. She writes about chronic pain, disability, sexuality, climate change, outer space, and science fiction and regularly moderates panels at literary conferences, facilitates writing workshops, and performs poetry at open mics and reading series. She lives in Washington, D.C. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Wordgathering, and more. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Electrical Contractor Magazine, News21, WTOP, and more. Find her at and @mchertock.

Photo by John Consoli.

Lauren K. Alleyne stands with one hand resting on the white grid framework of a French door. She appears in profile, but turns her head to look toward the camera. She wears a white collared sleeveless shirt, golden earrings, and red nail polish. On the other side of the French door, there is hardwood flooring, artwork on a far wall, and an open window.

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of two collections of poetry, Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press 2014), and Honeyfish (New Issues & Peepal Tree, 2019), and co-editor of Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (Northwestern, 2020).  Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, The Atlantic, Ms. Muse, Tin House, and  Guernica, among others. Her most recent honors include a 2020 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Poetry, and the longlist for the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. She is currently an associate professor of English at James Madison University, and the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, where she also serves as editor-in-chief of the center's online journal, The Fight & The Fiddle. Learen more at Lauren's website

Photo by Adriana Hammond.

Taylor Johnson stands outside under leafy green tree branches which are blurred in the background and foreground, and looks slightly down toward the camera. They wear a black graphic t-shirt with a white design under a dark red striped flannel rolled up to the elbows.

Taylor Johnson is from Washington, DC. They are the author of Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020), and their work appears in The Paris Review, The Baffler, Scalawag, and elsewhere. Johnson is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a recipient of the 2017 Larry Neal Writers’ Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. They live in New Orleans where they listen.

Photo by Sean D. Henry-Smith.


Emeritus Board Members:

A white woman with brown hair and glasses wearing a blue shirt passively smiles into the camera while standing in a nature area Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is a scholar and a poet. Her book manuscript, A Fine Bind, is a history of lesbian-feminist presses from 1969 until 2009. Her scholarly work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern CulturesJournal of Lesbian StudiesAmerican PeriodicalsWSQ, and Frontiers. She is the author of three poetry collections, Lilith’s Demons (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2015), Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013) and Handmade Love (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010). Her fourth collection, Avowed, is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in November 2016. She is editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She has her MFA and PhD from the University of Maryland. Enszer edits and publishes Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the The Rumpus and Calyx. You can read more of her work at
A white woman with brown hair and glasses smiles broadly with trees in the background Kit Bonson, former Board Treasurer, is a neuroscientist in the DC area with an undergrad degree in English and Psychology from the University of Iowa. She has been an activist for peace and justice and for women’s reproductive health for over 30 years. During this time, she has been invested in involving socially committed artists of many stripes into her political organizing – whether it was writers, visual artists or musicians. Most recently, she initiated a collaboration between Split This Rock and the Abortion Care Network (a national group of independent providers and prochoice supporters of which she is also a Board member) for a Prochoice Poetry Contest!
A smiling indian woman wearing traditional garb in a black and white photo Sunu P. Chandy is a queer woman of color, poet, civil rights attorney, parent and the daughter of immigrants from Kerala, India. She appreciates the solidarity and community building that can emerge through the sharing of our truths in writing workshops. Sunu completed her MFA in poetry at Queens College, CUNY and her work can be found in Asian American Literary Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Split this Rock’s on-line social justice database, The Quarry. Photo by Hilary Woodward.
A black woman with her hair in an updo and purple shirt smiles into the camera in front a scenic place Jennifer James is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Africana Studies Program at The George Washington University. Her first book, A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature, the Civil War-World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), examines the intersections of race, gender, citizenship and embodiment within the contexts of U.S. war and imperialism. Currently, Professor James is working on two archival book projects, Black Jack: Andrew Jackson and African American Cultural Memory, which traces the history of three generations of ancestors enslaved by the President to examine how Jackson is imagined in African American culture, and The Navassa Island Riot: Black Labor Consciousness in the Gilded Age, a study of an 1889 labor riot which ultimately opens to a larger analysis of black anti-capitalist thought and pro-labor sentiment in the Gilded Age.
A black woman poses in a bright yellow shirt and turquoise necklace powerfully in front of a black background Sonya Renee Taylor is an award-winning poet and activist. Founder of The Body is Not An Apology and the creator of the RUHCUS Project, her poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies including Spoken Word Revolution:Redux, Growing Up Girl, Off Our BacksBeltway QuarterlyJust Like A GirlX Magazine and On the Issues Magazine. Her first collection of poetry, A Little Truth on Your Shirt was released by GirlChild Press in 2010. Sonya’s work has been translated into Dutch, Swedish and German, used as curriculum in universities across the country and abroad, and as a tool for community and national action for organizations such as the Black AIDS Institute, HIV Campus Education, and Gloria Steinem’s reproductive rights organization, Choice USA. For more, visit
A latino man with brown hair and glasses leans slightly into the camera with a smile on his face and wearing a light blue shirt Dan Vera is a writer, editor, and literary historian living in Washington, DC. He is the author of the two poetry collections Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen, 2013), inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, and The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books, 2008). His poetry has appeared in various journals including Notre Dame ReviewBeltway PoetryDelaware Poetry ReviewGargoyle,and Little Patuxent Review, the anthologies Divining DivasFull Moon On K Street, and DC Poets Against the War. He edits the gay culture journal White Crane and co-created the literary history site, DC Writers’ Homes. For more, visit