Rhea Carmon


Indya Kincannon
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

Last item for navigation
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email


Facebook.com:  RheaSunshinePoetry 

Twitter.com:  The5thWoman 

Instagram.com:  The5thWoman
YouTube:  Rhea Carmon  |  The 5th Woman Poetry

Audio Streams:  
Spotify   |   SoundCloud

Websites:  RheaCarmon.com  |   The5thWoman.com

  Rhea Carmon
   "Burn with the motivation that only poetry can inspire."

Award-winning wordsmith RheaSunshine is a force that weaves passion, purpose, and power into poetry. She is the creator and Executive Director of the 5th Woman Cohort, which explores the stories of women. Regardless of race, women share the same experiences, fears, joys and more and the 5th Woman allows them to examine these moments without social and political barriers.

For 20 years, RheaSunshine has traveled the nation, sharing her gift of the spoken word and facilitating self-expression, liberation, and healing. This art form has led her to touch lives at universities and educational institutions as well as civic engagements and festivals. She has opened for such artists as Nikki Giovanni, Macy Gray, and Saul Williams and the world constantly expands to make room for her gift. Her upcoming fourth book release titled Through the Clouds explores her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

“Burn with the motivation that only poetry can inspire!”  - RheaSunshine

RheaSunshine strives to touch hearts and inspire women to scribe their own stories. This artist is evolving from their beginnings in the world of slam poetry to becoming a well-known creative and prolific writer. She has authored three chapbooks and has recorded three audio CDs. Not motherhood, MS, or any obstacle can slow this renaissance woman down. As she states in her writing, she still has poems that she hasn’t even written yet.


Mayor Indya Kincannon has named Rhea Carmon as Knoxville’s new Poet Laureate. Carmon, who performs under the name RheaSunshine, succeeds Dr. Marilyn Kallet, who was named the City’s second poet laureate in June 2018 by Mayor Madeline Rogero, and continued to serve during the first six months of Mayor Kincannon’s term. 

The 20-year veteran of poetry slams and performance stages is also a teacher and mother to two young boys with her husband Marcus. She is the founder and Executive Director of The 5th Woman Cohort, a poetry and performance group. 

"Thank you to the City of Knoxville and Mayor Kincannon for granting me the honor of representing the many amazing poets and writers that we have in our great city,” Carmon said. “I am excited to continue the work performed by former poet laureates R.B. Morris and Marilyn Kallet while lending my own talents to encourage the exposure of local citizens to the art of poetry." 

Kallet champions the choice. 

“Rhea is a poetry presence, a truth-teller and a singer,” Kallet said. “Times are tough, and we can't get together in person as much as we would like. Rhea has met and overcome many obstacles. She has the character and the art to make the best of this difficult time, through poetry!”


December 9, 2021
Collectively Speaking Open Mic with Poet Laureate Rhea Carmon
New open mic in Knoxville - 2nd Thursday of even months!
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
More information

November 18, 2021
United Way ADT Event

November 15, 2021
New Chapbook - Let The Sun Shine In
Available through Iris Press and Amazon on November 15.

November 12, 2021
The 2021 5th Woman Cohort will present their work virtually on November 12 at 8 pm. Purchase a ticket and come ready to be blown away by the poetry of Jazmin Witherspoon, Chloe McMurray, Elisha Brewer and Aneja Rateiri.

November 8, 2021
UT Creative Writing Series
Online Reading by Rhea Carmon at 7 p.m.
Register at tiny.utk.edu/carmon

September 23-24, 2021
Event with KSO
The 5th Woman took the stage with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Reimagined Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. 

July 20-August 19, 2021
Youth Summer Spokenword Program
Dates include: July 21 & 23, July 28 & 30, August 3 & 5, August 10 & 12, August 17 & 19
Program is for ages 14-19

July 9, 2021
Secret City Poetry Night
8 p.m. at the Grove Theatre at 123 Randolph St.

June 13, 2021
Youth Poetry Slam
Change Center at 203 Harriet Tubman

May 6, 2021
The Maker City presents: The Power of Poetry
Event features Rhea Carmon, Black Atticus, Travis Tench and Kelle Jolly
6-8:30 p.m. 
Free and online; register here

April 30, 2021
Virtual Poetry Slam
Watch event on The 5th Woman Poetry on YouTube
8:30-10:30 p.m.

Friday, April 2 - Friday, April 30, 2021
Poetry in Motion 
National Poetry Month campaign
Poetry in MotionPoet pop-up performances on Mondays and Fridays in April at KAT Transit stops. Poets and locations listed below:
• Friday, April 2 - Friday, April 30
• Friday, April 2 - Jazmin Witherspoon - Magnolia Ave
• Monday, April 5 - Sean Monett
• Friday, April 9 - Jazmin Witherspoon - Clinton Hwy
• Monday, April 12 - Sean B. Monett
• Friday, April 16 - Heather Michelle Howell - 16th and Baxter outbound, Jazmin Witherspoon - Magnolia Ave., Rhea Carmon - Clinton Hwy
• Monday, April 19 - Sean Monett, Heather Michelle Howell, 16th and Baxter outbound, Rebecca Parr
• Friday, April 23 - Sara Minges - Cumberland Avenue at Philip Fulmer Way, near the new Student Center
• Saturday, April 24 - Poetry Pop-Up event with Rhea Carmon and other participants at 4 p.m. at Market Square
• Monday, April 26 - Sara Minges - Cumberland Avenue at Philip Fulmer Way, near the new Student Center, Sean B. Monett

Meet Your Poet Laureate Thursday, April 1, 2021
1 p.m.
Poetry in Motion kick-off event at Knoxville Station, 301 Church Ave. 

KAT's Belinda Woodiel-Brill, Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knoxville Poet Laureate Rhea Carmon kick off the Poetry in Motion campaign to celebrate National Poetry Month and public transit with pop-up poetry readings at KAT transit stops on Mondays and Fridays throughout April.

March 21, 2021
Meet Your Poet Laureate virtual event at 6 p.m.
Watch on ZoomFacebook and Instagram.

March 15, 2021
Rhea speaks to WUOT's Chrissy Kueper about coming to Knoxville and becoming a poet. Listen: 

October 23, 2020
Fifth Episode of "Beyond the Spark" by The 5th Woman Poetry
Click here for a playlist of the series.

October 20, 2020
Rhea participated in the Poetry vs Hip Hop sponsored by the Hip Hop Caucus and Respect My Vote campaign. Watch the video replay.

October 18, 2020
Rhea's Spoken Word Sundays series starts. First poem was entitled "Conversations".

October 14, 2020
The poem "Clothe Yourself with a Vote" was created to encourage Knoxville to get out and vote in the election.

October 9, 2020

Third Episode of "Beyond the Spark" by The 5th Woman Poetry
Click here for a playlist of the series.

October 5, 2020
In "Home is Knoxville," RheaSunshine exalts the beauty found in our city and reminds us to experience nature as a balm during complicated times.

October 2, 2020
Second Episode of "Beyond the Spark" by The 5th Woman Poetry
Click here for a playlist of the series.

September 28, 2020
RheaSunshine will be interviewed on the Insisterhood Podcast and talk about life as a poet, teacher, wife and mother. Interview aired Oct. 5, 2020.

September 25, 2020
The 5th Woman Web Series "Beyond the Spark" premiered Sept. 25, 2020. RheaSunshine is the creative behind the series.  She is also one of the team coaches, a facilitator, and the Executive Producer of the show. The series works with 6 creatives to challenge them to create virtually and bring understanding to a wealth of topics. Episodes will be released every week on Friday at 7 p.m. following the first premiere. Click here for playlist of episodes.

September 23, 2020

RheaSunshine performed her poem "After the Black" for the WUOT Bunker Series Finale! anniversary series. You can find it at 37:20 into the Night 3 Video at https://youtu.be/lcRbTlRVrDY?t=2240.