In my writing practice, when words fail me, as they are doing now, I try writing prompts for a kickstart, I turn to revising old work, and I dive into the intentional and vigorous consumption of fellow writers’ words.

We write as we read. We read as we write. Yes?

We write to read. We read to write. Yes?

Are you reading?

What are you reading?

What are you intentionally choosing to read besides the scroll of social media?

(I ask these questions to myself daily. What are your answers?)

As readers of a blog on the Piedmont Laureate page, I know you are inclined to support Piedmont writers and that you have an interest in Laureates. 

It is my pleasure to include below the published works of two esteemed writers and our first Piedmont Laureates, Jaki Shelton Green and Zelda Lockhart. I encourage you to read and amplify their work.

I am reading:

Breath of the Song: New and Selected Poems
by Jaki Shelton Green
The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript: Turning Life’s Wounds into the Gift of Literary Fiction, Memoir, or Poetry
by Zelda Lockhart
All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective
edited by Lenard D. Moore [introduced by Jaki Shelton Green]


Jaki Shelton Green

2009 Piedmont Laureate, Poetry

2018-Present North Carolina’s Poet Laureate

The following was taken directly from Jaki Shelton Green’s website:

“Jaki Shelton Green is the author of eight collections of poetry: Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, published by Carolina Wren Press and Blair Publishers. Her other publications; Feeding the Light, I Want to Undie You are published by Jacar Press. Her poetry has been published in over eighty national and international anthologies and featured in magazines such as Essence and Ms. Magazine.”

Follow this link to purchase books:

Zelda Lockhart

2010 Piedmont Laureate, Fiction

The following was taken directly from Zelda Lockhart’s website:

“Her books include Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief ( by Doris Payne with Zelda Lockhart), and The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript which takes readers on the emotional, psychological and spiritual journey of utilizing personal stories to transform their lives while completing a work of fiction, memoir or poetry. Lockhart is author of novels Fifth Born, a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection and a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award finalist, Cold Running Creek a Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Fiction Awardee, and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle, 2011 Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her fiction, poetry, and essays appear in several anthologies as well as in periodicals like Chautauqua, Obsidian II, and

Lockhart is Director at Her Story Garden Studios: Inspiring Black Women to Self-Define, Heal, and Liberate Through the Literary Arts. Lockhart is also publisher at LaVenson Press helping women and girls to take ownership of their stories through publication.”

She welcomes visits to her websites: