Gilbert-Chappell Poets Reading 4 pm

Location: R.A. Fountain

Melinda Thomsen, our region’s Gilbert-Chappell Poet for the second year running, has put together this program featuring four emerging poets who’ll read from their original work. Their reading today is the culmination of a year’s writing and study for the poets with Thomsen and is sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Amiya Brown


Amya Brown recently competed her junior year at John Paul ll Catholic High School in Greenville. She loves to write and draw but enjoys sleeping the most. Edgar Allan Poe is one of her favorite writers because of his dark humor. She enjoys laughing and can make you laugh if you are around her long enough. She hopes to be able to write as freely as she can now when she is older.




Sienna Morgan

Sienna Morgan, who publishes literary art as Sienna L. M., is a poet born, living, and writing in Rocky Mount. She’s a Reader Board Member for Sundress Publications and a 2022-23 recipient of a Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge Artist Support Grant. Sienna is the author of the 2023 poetry chapbook “Palmade Poiēmas: For This Is My Handiwork.” She was the 2022 Sims Library of Poetry Bookmark Design Contest Winner. In 2021, she served as a guest judge for the Colorism Healing Writing Contest. Her poems, short stories, and essays are published or soon will be published by Colorism Healing, The Black Light Project, Black Oak Society Magazine, Midnight & Indigo, The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics,  and The North Carolina Poetry Society.

Mckenna Ware-Rudnik

Mckenna Ware-Rudnik lives in Whiteville, where she is a freshman at East Columbus Junior Senior High School. She has been writing poetry since 7th grade and has won the A. R. Ammons poetry contest in her division for the past three years. She enjoys reading, writing, knitting, making art, playing video games, and FaceTiming with her best friend, Claire. She also enjoys working in the technical theater program at her high school, where she is the stage manager of this year’s musical, Mean Girls JR.



Jalyn White

Jalyn White, who lives in Pinetops, is a senior at Edgecombe Early College High School. She actively participates in several school activities, including the robotics team, step team, and National Honor Society. One of her interests is in Neuroscience, which she plans to major in college. Jalyn also has a passion for poetry. She discovered her love for poetry during her freshman year of high school when she created a poem with her teacher for Black History Month. She continues to find joy in both honing her craft and showcasing her poetic talents. When she is not writing poetry, she enjoys exercising and planning her week.


Melinda Thomsen

Melinda Thomsen’s four poetry collections include the forthcoming Dropping Sunrises in a Jar (2024) from Finishing Line Press; Armature, a finalist for the 2022 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye award; and honorable mention for the Lena Shull Book Award (2019). Her poems have been in Salamander Magazine, THEMA, Rattle, and Big City Lit, among others. A 2019 Pushcart Nominee from The Comstock Review, she’s an advisory editor for Tar River Poetry. She lives in Greenville with her husband, two cats, and two chickens.


Last year’s poets, L to R: Marty Pitcairn, Ellie Lorenz, Jess Wallace, Justin Wellons & Melinda Thomsen. RAFoto.


Tags: poetry reading, Special Program