Poetry Foundation Announces the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships Winners

CHICAGO, Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announce the winners of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg…

CHICAGO, Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announce the winners of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Isabella Borgeson, Luther Hughes, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Darius Simpson, and Khaty Xiong.

The fellowships recognize outstanding young poets, providing support early in their careers to encourage the further study and writing of poetry in the form of their choosing. Each poet receives a $25,800 prize, making the fellowships among the largest and most prestigious awards available for young poets in the United States.

Five Exceptional Poets

Poets do not spend all of their time creating their art, but work in and serve their communities in varied and distinct ways. The 2020 Fellows are educators, organizers, librarians, performers, editors, and mentors as much as they are accomplished and talented poets.

Isabella Borgeson (she/they), a finalist for Best New Poets 2018, was AIR Serenbe’s 2019 Spoken Word Artist with a commitment to Community and Collaboration. Borgeson is a cofounder and organizer of The Root Slam, a free poetry venue in Oakland dedicated to promoting the artistic growth of the Bay Area poetry community and serving as an inclusive and socially just space.

Founder of Shade Literary Arts, a literary organization focused on the empowerment and expansion of literature by queer writers of color, Luther Hughes (he/him) is also a winner of the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest and a cohost of The Poet Salon podcast.  He is the executive editor of The Offing Magazine and an instructor at Hugo House.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson (he/they) won the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry for his collection SLINGSHOT. Johnson is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Librarian and an assistant professor at Pratt Institute, where they’ve provided innovative library instruction, as well as developed online orientations for students. His honors include fellowships from Columbia University and CultureStrike.

Winner of the 2020 Laux/Millar Raleigh Review Poetry Prize, Darius Simpson (he/him) is a teaching artist working with middle and high school students throughout Oakland and San Francisco. Simpson is featured in Finding the Gold Within, a documentary on what it means to be a young Black man in America. He has been a finalist for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize.

Khaty Xiong (she/her) is the author of three chapbooks and Poor Anima, the first full-length collection of poetry published by a Hmong American woman in the United States. Her poem «On Visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens» was adapted for an immersive poetry installation at the Poetry Foundation Gallery in 2018. Her honors include a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council and a Roxane Gay Fellowship in Poetry from Jack Jones Literary Arts.

An Evolving Fellowship

The fellowship program has evolved and expanded since its establishment by Ruth Lilly in 1989. As the Poetry Foundation is in the midst of its own institutional transformation, staff revisited the 2020 selection process, which was open to all staff members to participate. 

Congratulations to the 17 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships finalists:

Aria Aber

Noah Baldino

Imani Cezanne

Dorothy Chan

Leila Chatti

Chen Chen

Su Cho

Cean Gamalinda

Noor Hindi

Jackson Holbert

Ashley M. Jones

Jordan Keller-Martinez

Willie Kinard III

A.D. Lauren-Abunassar

Alán Peláez López

Brayan Salinas

Emily Spencer

The changes to the fellowship selection process are part of the commitments outlined by staff earlier in the summer; for more information, please read the Open Letter of Commitment to Our Community.

About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

 

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