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‘Poets of merit’ sought for prestigious fellowships

$50,000 to $100,000 awards up for grabs

Application deadline: Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
The Academy of American Poets has a long history of championing the role of poet laureate.
[caption id="attachment_17625" align="alignright" width="200"]Ed Madden Photo by Forrest Clonts[/caption] In 2019, they expanded their work, and prizes and fellowships for poets, with the launch of Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships. These are $50,000-$100,000 awards given to honor poets of literary merit appointed to serve in civic positions and to enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that engage their fellow residents, including youth, with poetry, helping to address issues important to their communities. Last April, Ed Madden (right) was named poet laureate of Columbia when he received a $50,000 fellowship. The fellowship award is unrestricted; however, in addition to the other eligibility and application criteria, the concept, scope, components, depth, and geographic reach of the proposed project, as well as the number of individuals to be served, will inform the recommended award made by a panel of award-winning poets and leaders in poetry and civic engagement. The fellowships were established in partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read more about the 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows and their civic projects.
Submissions for the 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships are accepted from December 20, 2019 until February 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.

Submitted material

Columbia poet laureate makes call for poems

Call for poems from South Carolina poets!


[caption id="attachment_17625" align="alignright" width="175"]Ed Madden Photo by Forrest Clonts[/caption] COMPOSED: a hospital poetry project Many of us have taken a moment to collect ourselves before visiting someone in the hospital. We stop and wash our faces, look in the mirror. compose ourselves. Using this moment as the inspiration for our next Prisma Health poetry project, we are looking for poems that fit that moment. We want to use local voices about health, healing, comfort, and courage in spaces where they can make a difference.  

Madden ‘beyond excited’ by new laureate fellowship

Academy of American Poets further validates Ed Madden

He's Columbia's poet laureate (since 2015) and he is a previous S.C. Arts Commission fellow for prose (2010). He is further expanding his influence with a new accolade.
[caption id="attachment_17625" align="alignright" width="200"]Ed Madden Photo by Forrest Clonts[/caption] Ed Madden was just awarded the Academy of America Poets Laureate Fellowship along with 12 other poets laureate of states, cities, and counties across the U.S. receiving a combined, historic $1 million in recognition of their literary merit and to support civic programs, which will take place over the next 12 months.  (See news release here.) “Poets have an important role in our culture and in communities all across the country. By supporting Poets Laureate at the state and local level, we hope to ensure that more people become acquainted with poets and poetry where they live and have an opportunity to benefit from innovative and groundbreaking programming close to home,” said Michael Jacobs, Chairman of the Academy of American Poets. These new fellowships are made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and, in total, are believed to be the largest awards provided to poets in the U.S. at any one time by a charitable organization. They are also in keeping with this spring’s national poetry programming theme of Poetry & Democracy offered by the Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 organizations working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Columbia's Free Times has an interview with Madden, who already has plans to put the $50,000 he received to use in Columbia. According to Free Times, they will fit in with his "other initiatives [that] have put poetry on Main Street banners and coffee sleeves. On April Fool’s Day 2017, random cars were tagged with fake parking tickets, no doubt baffling drivers who found on not an official summons but a few lines of verse. Last year, little free poetry boxes — similar to little free library kiosks — sprang up in yards throughout the city. There’s also been 'rain poetry,' where short local poems, stenciled onto sidewalks with hydrophobic paint, magically appear when it rains."

Jason Rapp

New mixed media feature at CMA combines art and poetry

The Write Around Series with Ed Madden and Ray McManus, the latest initiative in the Columbia Museum of Art's new Writer-in-Residence program, launches Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. Award-winning poets Madden (left) and McManus (right) open the series with work they have written inspired by the dynamic themes of the newly redesigned collection galleries. “By grouping the art thematically rather than chronologically, the new collection galleries create conversations, not just among the works of art, but also among patrons,” says McManus. “Writing that responds to the artwork—some of it displayed now for the first time—is another kind of conversation across forms of art, and one that can only amplify and extend the conversation created by the new gallery designs.” As writer-in-residence, McManus is charged with creating programs that promote literary art as a way to contemplate and connect with visual art. The Write Around Series is year-long program that invites writers to create and share original poetry and prose inspired by the art in the CMA. An associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina in Sumter, McManus teaches creative writing, Irish literature, and Southern literature. He is the director of the Center for Oral Narrative housed in the Division of Arts and Letters. In 2014, he joined the editorial board for the Palmetto Poetry Series, and he maintains partnerships with the S.C. Arts Commission and local arts agencies. McManus is the founder of Split P Soup, a creative writing outreach program that places writers in schools and communities in South Carolina, and the director of the creative writing program at the Tri-District Arts Consortium. His current project is Re:Verse, a teaching initiative that works with educators and administrators to develop effective strategies to bring more emphasis to creative writing in standard education. Madden is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Ark, a memoir in poetry about helping with his dying father’s hospice care. He is a professor of English and director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. He has been the inaugural poet laureate for the City of Columbia since 2015. He received the Arts Commission's 2011 prose fellowship. “I’m excited to launch The Write Around Series, and I’m especially excited to launch this program with the poet laureate of Columbia, Ed Madden,” says McManus. “I can’t wait to see what we come up with together!” The event is free with CMA membership or separate admission. The program is supported by South Carolina Humanities. For more information, visit ColumbiaMuseum.org.

S.C. literary giants to participate in 2018 Deckle Edge Literary Festival

Have you ever caught yourself wondering whether South Carolina has successful artists? Famous artists? Any making a mark in their medium or genre? Then consider Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2018 and wonder no longer. [caption id="attachment_33843" align="alignright" width="200"] Photo by Kathy Ryan, courtesy of TerranceHayes.com[/caption] The festival announced Columbia native Terrance Hayes (right, top) as its keynote speaker this year, and Conway native and current Columbia resident Nikky Finney (right, bottom) is to receive the inaugural Deckle Edge Southern Truth Award. Among Finney's accolades is being an Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award recipient from the Arts Commission, and she also received the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry and 1996 PEN American Open Book Award. Hayes is the current poetry editor for New York Times Magazine and has won Guggenheim, MacArthur, National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Artists Zell fellowships. His Lighthead won the 2010 National Book Award, and How to Be Drawn was a finalist for the same. Got all that? Because we're not quite done. [caption id="attachment_33844" align="alignright" width="200"] Photo by Forrest Clonts, courtesy of NikkyFinney.net[/caption] Further Arts Commission connections abound among the authors, poets, and songwriters scheduled to participate in the scheduled panels or presentations. Julia Elliott, Scott Gould (twice), and Ed Madden are all S.C. Arts Commission Fellows, and other writers have received grants or won awards from the agency as well. In fact, it would probably be easier simply to list those who lack Arts Commission ties - but then we don't want anyone to feel left out. Go here for more information on Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2018, and go forth with the knowledge that, yes, South Carolina has amazing, accomplished artists of all disciplines. And as we continue our focus on Arts Advocacy Week, remember that public support of the arts has played a role in getting them there.

Inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival to honor traditions and forge new ground

Note: One Columbia for Arts and History received a South Carolina Arts Commission Quarterly Grant to help support the Deckle Edge Literary Festival. The inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival, taking place Feb. 19 – 21 in Columbia, S.C., features readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a range of other literary events for many interests and all ages. Events take place in or near downtown Columbia, and many events are free. A sample of events: Friday, Feb. 19

  • 1 - 2 p.m.: Top 20 "Outside the Box" Book Marketing Ideas, Shari Stauch, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 2 - 3 p.m.: Plotting Strategies for Short Stories, Novels, and Plays, $30 per person, Paula Gail Benson, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 7 p.m.: Opening Night Celebration - Concert and Burlesque Show, Columbia Museum of Art, $10
Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 9 - 10 a.m.: S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Workshop for Kids, free, presented by The Watering Hole Poetry Organization, Tapp's Art Center
  • 11 a.m. - noon: Hub City Press Executive Director Betsy Teter moderates a panel of First Novel Prize winners Matt Matthews, James E. McTeer and Susan Tekulve, Columbia Museum of Art
  • 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Conversation with Southern Superstar Mary Alice Monroe, Columbia Museum of Art
Sunday, Feb. 21
  • 9 - 10:15 a.m.: Overcoming Creative Anxiety: 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Writing & Remain Calm, Cassie Premo-Steele, $30 per person, location TBA
  • 1 - 2:30 p.m.: Writing and Healing with Ed Madden, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Seibels House
  • 3 - 4 p.m.: IndieSC Launch - Calling all indie authors and aspiring writers in S.C! Presentation of free self-publishing platform by the South Carolina State Library, Columbia Museum of Art
View the full schedule online. Read a Free Times article about the festival. While Deckle Edge has its roots in the storied tradition of South Carolina’s literary life, festival organizers are committed to forging new ground and hope to appeal to regional and national audiences while remaining a community-focused effort. Festival partners make up an extensive network of South Carolina literary and cultural organizations, including Richland Library, the University of South Carolina PressHub City Writers Project, the S.C. Center for Children’s Books & LiteracyEd Madden and the Columbia Office of the Poet LaureateSouth Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, the Low Country Initiative for Literary ArtsJasper Magazine, Richland County schools, and others. Deckle Edge is built on the strong foundation of the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities CouncilSC , which announced the festival’s dissolution this past summer. The Humanities CouncilSC is now actively pursuing a variety of year-round statewide literary initiatives and has been supportive of the plans for Deckle Edge as a new literary event to be hosted in Columbia. “The S.C. Book Festival was a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we’re grateful to the Humanities CouncilSC for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Darien Cavanaugh. “We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will.” In addition to local talent, the festival will highlight a handful of New York Times bestselling authors from the Carolinas, beloved favorites from past S.C. Book Festivals, and many voices not previously heard from at South Carolina literary events. “This is Columbia’s literary festival,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Annie Boiter-Jolley, “but it’s also joining the larger conversation about literature of and in the South. We look forward to sharing our vision with writers and readers, and to hearing from them as to what Deckle Edge might become in future years.” Via: Deckle Edge Literary Festival

Columbia, S.C., names first poet laureate

[caption id="attachment_17625" align="alignright" width="134"]Ed Madden Ed Madden; photo by Forrest Clonts[/caption] One Columbia for Arts and History and the city of Columbia, S.C., announce the selection of poet Dr. Ed Madden as Columbia’s first poet laureate. Madden will serve a four-year term that begins January 2015. Columbia is one of the few Southern cities to have a poet laureate position, according to One Columbia. Recognized by Mayor Steve Benjamin and the members of City Council in a resolution passed on October 21, 2014, the honorary position of poet laureate will “encourage appreciation and create opportunities for dissemination of poetry in Columbia, promote the appreciation and knowledge of poetry among the youth, and act as a spokesperson for the growing number of poets and writers in Columbia.” “Dr. Madden is not only a world-class talent and scholar but also a leader who, through his actions as well as his words, exemplifies the very best of who we are and who we hope to be,” said Benjamin. “We’re honored to have him serve as our city’s first poet laureate and confident that he will exceed our highest expectations.” Madden, associate professor of English and the director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of South Carolina, holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Newport, Arkansas, he has lived in Columbia since 1994. He has published three books of poetry and is currently working on a fourth book, titled Ark, to be published in 2016. He is the recipient of the inaugural Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship in poetry from the S.C. Academy of Authors as well as a 2011 fellowship for prose writing from the S.C. Arts Commission. His first scheduled readings as poet laureate include the State of the City address on January 20, 2015, and commemoration events for the 150th anniversary of the burning of Columbia on February 17, 2015. “I am excited to have been chosen for this position and really honored to be the first poet selected,” said Madden. “Columbia is a city so rich in writers, I’m also very humbled. I want to be a champion for poetry, language, and the arts, and I want to use poetry to document the life and culture of the city.” One Columbia will provide financial support for the poet laureate to conduct activities that support the organization’s mission to promote and strengthen the arts in Columbia. Madden was selected by a committee representing the literary community, city government and academia. Committee members were Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry; Tony Tallent, director of literacy and learning at the Richland Library and board chair of One Columbia; Councilman Moe Baddourah; Michael Wukela, representing the office of Mayor Benjamin; Jonathan Haupt, director of the University of South Carolina Press and One Columbia board member; Sara June Goldstein, senior coordinator for statewide partnerships with the S.C. Arts Commission; Cynthia Boiter, co-founder of Muddy Ford Press and editor of Jasper Magazine; and Alejandro García-Lemos, a Columbia artist and founder of Palmetto Luna. "The choice of Ed Madden, as Columbia's first poet laureate, is a lovely luminous moment for our city and state,” says Finney. “Poetry has the grace and power to both inspire and guide. The city of Columbia and the state of South Carolina need more poetry in its heart and soul. Ed is absolutely the one to help direct it there and there.” An official presentation will take place on January 15, 2015, between 6 - 8 p.m. at the Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street, Columbia. The event will also feature the official launch of Columbia’s One Book, One Community 2015 selection of On Agate Hill by Lee Smith. The event is open to the public. About One Columbia for Arts and History One Columbia for Arts and History is a nonprofit corporation that works to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for our residents, attract tourist dollars to our city, and further build our vibrant community. In short, it serves as the promotional arm of the City for Columbia’s cultural community. Visit the One Columbia website (http://onecolumbiasc.com) for a continuously updated master list of art and cultural activities occurring throughout the city.