The Common Language Project


Poetry Competition & Public Reading

“No one sleeps in this room without

the dream of a common language”


The Premise

Born of a desire to bring the many members of the North Texas poetry community into conversation with each other, The Common Language Project places participants in the same room and turns them loose to dream. United by a list of shared words and confined only by the space of a page, the poems of the project weave a tapestry of radically divergent experiences that sing, simmer and singe. Together, these poems give us a place to come together, somewhere from which we can start, from which we can thrive.

Congratulations to our winning poets!

Congratulations to the thirty winners selected for our first-ever online anthology for The Common Language Project! View the anthology now.

Winners in bold are the top ten selected to perform their winning poems at Dallas Poetry Project: Common Language, which will take place at Arts Mission Oak Cliff on April 27th at 7:30pm as part of Dallas Arts Month.


Margaret Allyson, “Henry VII: The Early Years”

Rich Aubin, “REQUIEM”

Monica Berry, “Façade”

Saba Boru, “Mercy”

Trish Callahan, “Morning Journey”

Joan Canby, “Lesson”

Valentina R.N. Cochran, “~~~dance with life~~~”

Trevor Cook, “City of Light”

Alexandra Corinth, “A Guide for the Visitors of Solovetsky Monastery”

V.P. Crowe, “Embrace”

Rhett Forman, “We Are Singing the West”

Brenda Gaba, “Nightlife”

Alan Gann, “last important thing”

Christine Irving, “Listening for What the Walls Might Say”

Archana Kannan, “A Suppressed Great”


Sara Kumar, “Anne’s Lament (A Letter from Anne Hathaway to William Shakespeare)”

Debra Levy-Fritts, “Children: Cities”

Kari Lynch, “Student Body”

James Mendur, “The City Monk and the Country Monk – a Conversation in Haiku”

Cole Murphy, “Take Shelter”

Mz Jolie, “Goodbye”

Mark David Noble, “lyric”

Anne Gordon Perry, “Frame for a New World”

Gayle Reaves-King, “Soft Touch”

Erin Reeves, “Once”

Sylvia Riojas Vaughn, “Notes on Creating a Wellspring”

Cheryl Robinson, “Once”

Talisha Simpson, “Kindred Feeling”

Christopher Stephen Soden, “Zombie Gospel”

Ruth Woolson, “For Now”


April 27th, 7:30pm | Arts Mission Oak Cliff; 410 S Windomere Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
Dallas Poetry Project: Common Language will bring people together to explore the topic of building community. Tammy Gomez, a Mexican-American Texas born writer and multiple award-winning artist, and Lyn Lyric, a singer, songwriter, poet and actress who graced a sold-out crowd at the Margo Jones Theatre with her one-woman show will be the featured poets. Joining them will be the winners of the Writer’s Garret’s The Common Language Project contest.

Tammy Gomez
As a Mexican-American Texas-born writer, performance artist, and media producer, Tammy Gomez has over 20 years of experience in producing, directing, and hosting literary performance events, and has collaborated with over 100 artist/writers. She curated the Poetry Tent readings for the Texas Book Festival for six consecutive years. Tammy has also been a performing member of such collectives as the Red Salmon Poets, the Blue Plate Poets, Dharma Broads, WOW (Women of Words), and Yoniverse (the latter which she founded and published). She advocates for the growth of cultural literacy and appreciation of literature by publishing Texas writers (YONIVERSE: IN A LOUD KITCHEN – 1998, and NORTH TEXAS NERUDA LOVE – 2005) as the small press publisher Tejana Tongue Press.

Lyn Lyric
Lyn Lyric is a Singer, Songwriter, Poet, and Actress. In March of 2015 Lyn Lyric released her long-awaited poetry and music CD entitled “Of Verse & Song” at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. This versatile performer has landed rolls in productions such as Love Doesn’t Hurt, Behind The Cotton Curtain (a Tribute to Medgar Evers), The Black Nativity, The Book of Queens, and Just Call Him to name a few. Lyn Lyric is a crowd favorite at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Poet’s N Jazz, Poetry Smash and the longest running all female poetry show in Texas: In The Words Of A Sistah. In February of 2017 Lyn Lyric Smith graced an a sold-out crowd at Margo Jones Theatre with the One Woman Show “A Poet’s Tribute To Nina Simone”. Lyn Lyric Smith’s style, grace, vocal and word symmetry has made her a staple on area stages and beyond.

For additional information please contact: Brittney Dubose, Office of Cultural Affairs at [email protected]

“Dallas Poetry Project: Common Language” is part of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs’ Dallas Poetry Project series celebrating the city’s vibrant literary community for Dallas Arts Month. To find out more about the Dallas Poetry Project:

The contestants were asked to use all thirty of the following words in any order, as they appear, without changes in tense or form:































Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi

Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi is the founder of Dark Moon Poetry & Arts, a monthly series which spotlights the creative feminine and non-binary energies of North Texas. She can often be found on sidewalks using her typewriter to birth poems for strangers. She has been published in Entropy, The BoilerAnthropology Now!, Bearing the Mask, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured by WFAA, KERA, the Dallas Morning News, and others. Her chapbook, Moon Woman, is forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press.

Joe Milazzo

Joe Milazzo is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Jaded Ibis Press) and two collections of poetry: The Habiliments (Apostrophe Books) and the forthcoming Of All Places In This Place Of All Places. He co-edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing], is a Contributing Editor at Entropy, curates the Other People’s Poetry reading series, and is also the proprietor of Imipolex Press. He has taught creative writing (multiple genres) at Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Dallas, Writing Workshops Dallas, and The Writer’s Garret. Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, where he was born and raised.

B. Randall

B. Randall is an author, director, host, poet, producer, and visionary. She serves as host of Poetry Smash at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, of Verse & Rhythm at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, and of In The Words Of A Sistah, the longest-running all-female poetry show of its kind. In 2012, Randall launched her first touring show, Poetry Is My Praise, an inspirational, motivational, and spiritual poetry show. Randall is writer, producer, and director of A Poet’s Tribute to Nina, a fusion of the work of Nina Simone with the writings and poetry of the artist Lynn Lyric. She was commissioned by the Multicultural Alumni Association of Texas A&M Commerce to pen a poem commemorating the 50th anniversary of desegregation and was invited to perform at the National Day of Prayer Luncheon celebrating 40 years. Her recorded work has been featured at 500X Gallery. Currently, Randall serves on the board of directors for WordSpace.