For the 2021 fellowship, the Academy of American Poets with support from the Mellon Foundation will fund 23 individuals who serve as poets laureate of states and cities across the U. S. These poets will lead public poetry programs in their respective communities in the year ahead. The fellows will each receive $50,000 (or $25,000 each in the case of the shared poet laureate position in Montana) for a combined total of $1.1 million. In addition, the academy will provide over $100,000 total to 14 local 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that have agreed to support the fellows’ proposed projects.
This year’s fellows includes local laureate:
Semaj Brown, poet laureate of Flint, Michigan
Semaj Brown is Flint’s first Poet laureate and the author of Bleeding Fire! Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light (Broadside Lotus Press/Health Collectors LLC, 2019). In addition to being a poet, Brown is a playwright, thought Leader, university lecturer and K–12 curriculum builder/facilitator whose work is an amalgam of the arts and sciences. Brown will develop the interdisciplinary, integrated on-line platform, The Poetry Pod Project (P3), which will utilize Brown’s pedagogy, coined TiSiWiDi (Think it, Say it, Write/Work it, Do it), which integrates music, visual art, performance and games to enhance literacy and the appreciation of poetry through the listening to, reading and writing of poetry. P3 will launch the inter-genre seminar, Poetry Letters: Poetry as a 2nd Language, which embraces three continuous, yearlong workshops: Poetry Voices, Poetry Painting, and Poetry Pen Pals. Brown will launch the Poetry Pod Project in collaboration with the Flint Zeta Foundation.