Here's some exciting news to close out National Poetry Month: Philadelphia Poet Laureate Raquel Salas Rivera has been selected by the Academy of American Poets as one of 13 recipients of a new fellowship award!
Rivera, who was appointed to their two-year term as Poet Laureate in 2018, is one of 13 poets in nine states receiving the first-ever award, 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." The fellowships were established with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
It has been a busy month for Rivera, who was also just announced as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the transgender poetry category. Winners of that award will be announced on June 3.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, the City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate program moved under the auspices of the Free Library’s Division of Cultural and Civic Engagement. The Poet Laureate is a civic position that recognizes an exceptional poet who also demonstrates a commitment to the power of poetry to engage and inspire people throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. In addition to the Poet Laureate position, the program also supports a new Youth Poet Laureate each year - an honor that comes with an educational scholarship. The Poet Laureate mentors the Youth Poet Laureate, who represents the voice of Philadelphia’s young poets. Both poets engage with Philadelphia citizens through readings, events, and a special project of their choosing.
Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and translator who writes in both English and Spanish. They are the author of x/ex/exis (poemas para la nación) (poems for the nation), forthcoming from Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe in fall 2019 and winner of the 2018 Ambroggio Prize; while they sleep (under the bed is another country) (Birds, LLC, 2019); lo terciario/the tertiary(Timeless, Infinite Light, 2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry; tierra intermitente/intermittent land (Ediciones Alayubia, 2017); and Caneca de anhelos turbios (Editora Educación Emergente, 2011).
The Academy of American Poets is our nation’s leading champion of poets, poetry, and the work of poetry organizations. The organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards the American Poets Prizes. The organization also coordinates the work of a national Poetry Coalition working 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.