The Poetry Project has always been a space that facilitates and values contact and learning between poets from different generations and experiences, and in 2013 we initiated the Emerge-Surface-Be fellowship program to formalize that relationship-centered pedagogical model while providing a unique opportunity to support and uplift emerging NYC-based poets. For the first six years we supported three emerging poets annually, and beginning in 2020-2021 the program grew to supporting five. Fellows are selected by and paired with their own poet mentors, who then work together over the course of nine months to support the Fellow in developing their craft; to explore publication and performance opportunities; and to reflect on the professional and community-based dimensions of a writing life. Ideal Fellows will have a project they are working on or want to embark upon, and feel that they would benefit from guidance and support. Each Fellow will receive an award of $2,500.
In addition to receiving the honorarium and working one-on-one with their mentors, Fellowship also includes access to all Poetry Project events (free workshops, free readings, free publications), and contributing to The Poetry Project's journal, The Recluse. As a culminating event, Fellows read in The Poetry Project's Monday Night or Friday Night Reading Series with introductions made by their mentors. Fellows will be invited to attend gatherings with the Project staff, as well as the other Fellows and mentors. Poetry Project staff and mentors will also work with each Fellow to find other unique opportunities for deepening, sharing, and connecting their poetry to specific goals the Fellows might have.
Applicants that have achieved some measure of local, regional, or national professional recognition will be judged favorably, as will applicants who have been published or had work presented in recognized publications and venues. However, the most important criterion is that an applicant's work shows potential. Therefore, demonstration of a high level of skill and unique stylistic vision will be considered in the decision making process.
Our definition of “emerging” is a writer who has local and perhaps regional recognition and may have national exposure, though not national recognition. As a top limit, an emerging writer has published no more than one full length perfect bound book and no more than three chapbooks (not including self-published work in chapbook form).
The Poetry Project embraces diversity in the broadest sense of the word. This principle is reflected in the choice of mentor poets and will be reflected in the selection of Fellows.
Emerge — Surface — Be is supported with funds from the Jerome Foundation. The program runs annually from October-June, and we accept applications in July and August.