The Academy of American Poets has a long history of championing the role of poet laureate, including by being a resource listing local poets laureate and providing information to communities interested in creating new poets laureate positions.
In 2019, we expanded on this work, and our prizes and fellowships for poets, by launching the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships. These $50,000 awards are given to honor poets of literary merit appointed to serve in civic positions and to support them in creating new work, as well as to enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that enrich the lives of their neighbors, including youth, through responsive and interactive poetry activities.
In addition to the other eligibility and application criteria, the concept, scope, components, depth, geographic reach, and community support of the proposed project will be considered by a panel of award-winning poets and leaders in poetry and civic engagement. The panelists who will recommend the recipients of 2024 Poet Laureate Fellowships are Asari Beale, Executive Director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative; Nora Halpern, art historian, curator, and former Vice President at Americans for the Arts; Porsha Olayiwola, poet laureate of Boston; Airea D. Matthews, former poet laureate of Philadelphia; and Olivia Morgan, the founder of National Student Poets. Final award decisions will be approved and finalized by members of the Academy of American Poets Board of Directors.
The fellowships were established in partnership with the Mellon Foundation. Read more about the 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 Poet Laureate Fellows and their civic projects.
Applications for the 2024 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships are accepted from January 31, 2024 until April 8, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Any poet who meets the below criteria as of January 31, 2024 in the fellowship award year is eligible:
- 21 years of age or older;
- Appointed as an official poet laureate of a state, city, county, U.S. territory, or Tribal nation by a Governor, State Arts or Humanities Council, State Poet Laureate Commission, Tribe President, Mayor, City Council, City Poet Laureate Commission, City Arts Board, County Arts Board, or a city’s public library system;
- Your service as poet laureate, carried out in good community standing, occurring sometime between January 31, 2024 and June 30, 2025;
- Published one or more full-length poetry collection(s) and/or chapbook(s) (excluding books that are self-published and/or published with a subsidy press that requires payment by the author) or substantial history of public spoken word performances;
- Substantial publication history in a variety of journals and media, or of public spoken word performances;
- Recognition in the field (including literary awards, prizes, grants, residencies, and fellowships);
- Demonstrated commitment to promoting awareness of poetry; and,
- Correctly completed application submitted by the deadline.
Please upload to Submittable the following:
- A letter certifying that you are the official poet laureate of a state, city, county, U.S. territory, or Tribal nation, as appointed by a Governor, State Arts or Humanities Council, State Poet Laureate Commission, Tribe President, Mayor, City Council, City Poet Laureate Commission, City Arts Board, County Arts Board, or a city’s public library system. The letter must also include your date of appointment and your final date of service as poet laureate;
- Your curriculum vitae (no more than three pages), which includes your name and current contact information, and information such as your current and past employment, publication history, awards, performances and readings, past public poetry projects, and education;
- A 5-page sample of original poems, new or previously published (including publication information). Performance or spoken word poets may submit a document (PDF or Word file) with links to audio and/or video recordings of their work sample;
- A 1- to 2-page detailed description of your proposed civic project(s), including a timeline for the project(s) you would conduct between July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025, that engages youth and/or addresses important statewide or local issues, including the anticipated reach or impact (please see the 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 Poet Laureate Fellows and their projects);
- A budget for your proposed civic project(s). Please see a budget template here and note that in 2024, the total fellowship award is $50,000. Your budget should not include an honorarium for your time working on your civic project(s) and should not exceed $15,000. The remainder of the fellowship funds is intended to support an honorarium for your time working on your civic project(s) and your own literary work;
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your ability and capacity to carry out your proposed project or projects, and their contact information.
- If you are able to secure in-kind support from local 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (e.g. staff time, venue rental, promotion on a website and/or social media, etc.), with which you do not have a conflict of interest (e.g. you are not an employee or Board member), in support of your project, the Academy will match the amount up to $10,000 in a financial contribution to the nonprofit(s) if you are awarded an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. Please provide a letter from the nonprofit organizations, which includes their contact information, confirming the details of their contribution. We encourage collaborations with the State Centers for the Book.
- Alternatively, if you are able to secure a contribution of up to a total of $10,000 in cash in support of your project from a local foundation(s) or business(es) (not owned or operated by a relative and with a legitimate physical address, phone number, and website), we will provide a matching amount to you after their disbursement in addition to fellowship funds if you are awarded a Poets Laureate Fellowship. Please provide a letter from the foundation(s) or business(es), which includes their contact information, confirming the details of their contribution.
Only one type of support, either in-kind or cash, will be matched up to $10,000.
Online submissions are accepted for the 2024 Poet Laureate Fellowships through our submission manager, Submittable. For questions about using Submittable, please visit: https://submittable.help/en/articles/904856-how-do-i-submit.
The Academy of American Poets assumes no responsibility for applications not received due to user error. Applicants may verify the receipt of their application materials by logging into Submittable.
All correspondence concerning the fellowships and applications should be addressed to the Academy of American Poets. Current poets laureate with questions about this opportunity are encouraged to contact email@example.com.
Poets laureate within a state may submit a collaborative application. We encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before doing so.
If you need accommodation for accessibility, please contact email@example.com.
It’s the mission of the Academy of American Poets to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. In furtherance of our mission, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality and integrity in our publications and programs, and expect and require the same from the poets with whom we collaborate.
All applicants and selected fellows agree that, as part of their eligibility to serve as a fellow, they will maintain the highest standards of fairness, decency and personal integrity, in the Academy’s sole discretion, including with adherence to all applicable laws and community values. The decisions of the Academy of American Poets as to eligibility, both initial and throughout the award period, are final.
By law the Academy of American Poets must report cash prizes awarded to individuals to the Internal Revenue Service. If individuals have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), the individual will receive a 1099. If the individual does not have an SSN or ITIN, the individual will receive a 1042 and could be subject to a withholding of a percentage of the cash award.
Applicants will be notified of the 2024 award results by June 30, 2024.