The 2022 Stowe Prize was awarded to Dr. Clint Smith on June 2, 2022 for his New York Times bestselling book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little, Brown and Company, 2021).
In order of appearance:
Host Versatile Poetiq is a spoken word and performance artist. Inspired by the raw and pure performances on “Def Poetry Jam,” Versatile found community and mentorship attending local open mics sharing her perspectives as a young, masc presenting, queer woman. With signature pieces like “Me” and “Cause I Love Him”, Versatile’s poetry has lead her to stages like The New Haven Pride Center, Hartford Jazz Festival, and The Trinity Hip Hop Festival. Now a teaching artist at the Charter Oak Cultural Center, she is focused on drafting her first book and recording her album.
T’challa Williams is Author, Performer, Poet, Activist and Hartford native. She is the author of two books of poetry and a contributor to five anthologies and several poetry collections. T’challa is Executive Co-Founder of Hartford’s L.I.T, a literary organization of local artists and entrepreneurs that produce literary events as well as an annual Book Festival for Hartford. She serves as a Board member of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Her work within the community garnered her recognition as one of the 100 Women of Color (Class of 2021) for leadership and community service. As a Teaching Artist she shows middle school students how to find their voice and speak their truth through Poetry. https://culturalyst.com/
Frederick-Douglass Knowles II is an Educator and Activist fervent in achieving community augmentation through the literary arts. He is a Professor of English at Three Rivers Community College in his native city of Norwich, CT and the inaugural Poet Laureate of Hartford. He is the recipient of the Nutmeg Poetry Award and the Connecticut of the Arts Fellow in Artist Excellence for Poetry/Creative Non-fiction. Knowles is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of BlackRoseCity. https://www.
Aaron Jafferis is a hip-hop poet and playwright whose works Activist Songbook, The Ones, Trigger, (Be)longing, Stuck Elevator, How to Break, Kingdom, Shakespeare: The Remix, and No Lie have been produced or presented by The Old Globe, American Conservatory Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Collective Consciousness Theatre and many others. Honors include a Creative Capital Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship, NEFA National Theatre Project Grant, and multiple MacDowell Fellowships. A former Open Rap Slam champion at the National Poetry Slam Championships, Aaron is the founding artistic director of The Word poetry collective in New Haven. https://www.aaronjafferis.com/
Since 2000, Tracy Caldwell has made a name for herself as Mind.Evolution. A lifelong resident of Hartford, CT, Mind.Evolution is a powerful voice for women, the community, and people of color. Displaying depth and complexity, her work has graced stages from Connecticut to California, including the Apollo stage in Harlem, NY. A member of the 2014 and 2015 Connecticut Slam team Verbal Slap, she tackles many social issues in an accessible yet profound manner. Her personal stories inspire the audience to reflect upon the complicated issues that we often encounter throughout life. Her reflections on society and social justice are a call for attentiveness and action. Whether discussing body image, with her stage play The Thick Chronicles: A body Image Story, or the intersectionality of women’s issues and people of color, in her books Bare Naked and Exposure, Mind.Evolution lays out the cost of these issues on women and on society at large. Her most recent endeavor has been to create an exclusive space for Black women, and women of color to gather safely, and fellowship about the challenges and rewards of being a woman of color in America with her Black Girl Studies. www.thepoetme.com
Tarishi “M.I.D.N.I.G.H.T.” Shuler altered the status quo of the spoken word art scene by presenting an ingenious style of delivery using clever metaphors and a dance between two dimensional storylines. Resonating with audiences nationwide, by 2011, Tarishi had begun dominating stages with his dramatic performances taking home numerous awards year after year and raising the bar for his counterparts. Often abrupt, always gracefully delivered yet playfully unfiltered, his poetry hangs in an intrinsic balance of raw truth and art imitating life. Among his many accolades, Tarishi has opened for many notable individuals and at the end of 2021 he was the feature and host of the legendary “Poet’s Passage” in San Juan Puerto Rico.
Patrick “Rico” Williams is dedicated to sharing stories. Through writing, content creation, youth development, consultation, workshop facilitation, and much more, he helps people find the inherent value in their stories confronting the ever-present danger of silence. A Jamaican, who immigrated to the States at fifteen, he is currently honing in on translating his experiences as a recently naturalized Black American – in a country that hunts them for sport. Patrick is an inaugural Artists of Color Accelerate Fellow working in partnership with the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Patrick is the author of two books: I’ve Just Got These Words Fam… and Jesus is Black. He plans on releasing a third book, The Tweets I Twote soon.