Poetry Foundation Announces the 2023 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows

Poetry Foundation Announces the 2023 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows

Honoring five outstanding young poets with more than $135,000 in prizes

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Poetry Foundation announces the 2023 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows: Bhion Achimba, Roda Avelar, Ariana Benson, Chrysanthemum, and Willie Lee Kinard III.

The fellowship recognizes poets early in their careers to encourage the further study and writing of poetry in the form of their choosing. The prize, which increased from $25,800 in 2022 to $27,000, makes the fellowships among the largest awards available to young poets in the United States. Additionally, each poet receives an invitation to publish in Poetry magazine and a stipend to attend a professional development opportunity of their choice.

“It is a joy and an honor to celebrate these remarkable young poets through the fellowships,” said Michelle T. Boone, president of the Poetry Foundation. “Not only do they demonstrate innovation and excellence through their craft, but they are also advancing poetry and the literary arts within their communities and beyond through their work, scholarship, and relationship building. My sincere congratulations to this year’s fellows!”

On October 21, 2023, a special event at the Poetry Foundation will bring all five fellows together for the first time for a free public reading to share their poetry and celebrate their accomplishments.

Introducing the 2023 Fellows
Bhion Achimba
 (they/he) grew up in rural southeastern Nigeria and came to the US as a Scholar-at-Risk fellow at Harvard University. Their manuscript Cantos from the Crossing won the 2023 Center for Book Arts chapbook prize and will be published in November 2023. They earned an MFA in literary arts from Brown University; edit Dgëku, a literary magazine that publishes writing by queer Africans; and serve on the editorial board of TransitionMagazine.

Roda Avelar (she/they) is a trans woman poet from Fresno, California. She earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of California Riverside, where she taught creative writing and English composition, and a BA in English literature from California State University Fresno. She was a Milkweed Editions summer intern in 2019, and a 2022 Community of Writers fellow. She creates work that imagines queer people and people of color in science fiction, mythology, and queer liberation.

Ariana Benson (she/they) is a southern Black poet born in Norfolk, Virginia. Their debut collection, Black Pastoral, won the 2022 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Benson has received a Furious Flower Poetry Prize, a Porter House Review Poetry Prize, and the 2021 Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets. Benson is a proud alumna of Spelman College, where she facilitates creative writing and storytelling workshops for HBCU students. She strives to fashion vignettes of Blackness that speak to its infinite depth and richness in her writing.

Chrysanthemum (she/her) is a poet, a performance artist, and a public historian. Her honors include the 2023 Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship from Lambda Literary; fellowships from Artist Communities Alliance and Kundiman; and a championship with her team at the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and the first-ever FEM Slam. Chrysanthemum was born to Vietnamese parents in Oklahoma City, where she came of age around the NW 39th Street and Asian American enclaves. She now calls Providence, Rhode Island, home. 

Willie Lee Kinard III (he/they) is a poet, designer, and musician. Kinard earned a BFA from the University of South Carolina and an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. His publications include Orders of Service, winner of the 2022 Alice James Award, and a self-published chapbook/mixtape, chroma. The recipient of fellowships from The Watering Hole and the Pittsburgh Foundation, Kinard is from Newberry, South Carolina, and currently teaches at the University of South Carolina.

The Poetry Foundation also congratulates the 2023 Fellowship finalists:

2023 Decision Process
Each application to the 2023 Fellowships was read by two of 33 external reviewers; then a group of five external judges read all of the top-scoring applications to select 12 finalists and subsequently, the five fellows.

The Poetry Foundation would like to thank the following readers and judges for their time and careful consideration:

  • Ari Banias
  • Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran
  • Daniel Borzutzky
  • Tina Boyer Brown
  • Shonda Buchanan
  • Cecilia Caballero
  • Anthony Cody
  • Diana Maria Delgado
  • Sara Elkamel
  • Ola Faleti
  • Luz Magdaleno Flores
  • Aricka Foreman
  • Chasity Gunn
  • Jane Huffman
  • Ruth Ellen Kocher
  • Raina León
  • Dana Levin
  • Lisa Low
  • Sally Wen Mao
  • Karyna McGlynn
  • Chessie Normile
  • Ernest Ogunyemi
  • Tarnynon Onumonu
  • Saleem Hue Penny
  • Beth Piatote
  • C. Russell Price
  • Joy Priest
  • Rena Priest
  • Brittany Rogers
  • Alison C. Rollins
  • Margaret Ross
  • Chanell Ruth
  • Beth Metzger Sampson
  • Leonora Simonovis
  • Billie R. Tadros
  • Luis Tubens
  • Christie Valentin-Bati
  • Noah Zanella

Questions and comments about the Fellowships can be directed to [email protected].

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and Poetry at @PoetryMagazine.

SOURCE Poetry Foundation

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