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Blackbird Festival Poets 2011

Gayle Danley studied broadcast journalism at Howard University’s School of Communications where she graduated cum laude.  She studied Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University, earning a Master's Degree. It was not until after she finished school that she learned about Slam poetry. She embraced it and shortly afterward won the title 1994 National Individual Slam Poet in Ashville, NC and in Heidelberg, Germany she became the 1996 International Slam Poet Champion. Gayle performs a one-woman show, "Brilliance," and has published three books: Naked, Soulfull: A Slam Poetry Study Guide and Passionate: Poems You Can Feel.

In addition to her motivational speaking and college performances, she tours elementary and secondary schools, helping students with traumatic experiences and teaching workshops on Slam poetry to all age groups. In 1999 the CBS show, 60 Minutes featured a story on Slam poetry, spotlighting her classroom work and riveting performance. Her keynote and lecture series fuses her poetry with the ability to touch her audience through real life experiences, leaving a lasting emotional message with them.


Lyubomir Nikolov was born in Kiryaevo, Bulgaria, in 1954 and has lived in the United States since 1990. He studied journalism at the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia and has worked as an editor, translator and broadcaster for the Voice of America and BBC- London. His poetry collections include:  In Bulgarian: Summoned by the High Tide, Traveler, Raven, Wasp. In English: Pagan, Street, Unreal Estate. In German: Nur Ein Steinwurf vom Diesseits das Jenseits. In Spanish: Parabolas a medianoche. His poems, articles and essays have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New York Times Book Review, Stand, Index on Censorship.

Lyubomir is a recipient of the Southern Spring Literary Award and an Award from the Bulgarian Union of Translators. He participated in many poetry festivals in America and Europe. Most recently he took part in Semana Poetica, an International poetry festival at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. For the last two decades he has taught poetry and translation classes at numerous American and European schools and universities.


Sue Ellen Thompson is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Golden Hour (2006), and the editor of The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry. Her work has been included in the Best American Poetry series, read on National Public Radio by Garrison Keillor, and featured in U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s nationally syndicated newspaper column. Ms. Thompson taught at Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, Binghamton University, and Central Connecticut State University before moving to the Eastern Shore in 2006. She now teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and was awarded the 2010 Maryland Author Prize from the Maryland Library Association.

HoCoPoLitSo is thankful for its partner, Howard Community College, and its sponsors, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Conexiones.

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Conexiones is a non-profit organization advocating for the academic success of Hispanic students in the Howard County Public School System.