Rhea Carmon


Indya Kincannon
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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  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 twenty 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!”


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.

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 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.

October 2, 2020
Second 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 9, 2020
Third Episode of "Beyond the Spark" by The 5th Woman Poetry
Click here for a playlist of the series.

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

October 18, 2020

Rhea's Spoken Word Sundays series starts. First poem was entitled "Conversations".

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