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.

Ed Madden

Photo by Forrest Clonts

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.”