The Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships 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. 
Submissions are accepted from December 20, 2019 until February 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. eastern time. 
Any poet who meets the below criteria as of January 1 in the fellowship award year is eligible:
  1. 21 years of age or older; 
  2. Currently serving as an official Poet Laureate of a state, city, county, U.S. territory, or Tribal nation after having been formally appointed to the position by a Governor, State Arts or Humanities Council, State Poet Laureate Commission, Tribe President, Mayor, City Council, City Poet Laureate Commission, City Arts Board, County Arts Board, or a city’s public library system; 
  3. Published one or more collections of poetry (excluding books that are self-published and/or published with a subsidy press that requires payment by the author) or substantial history of public spoken word performances;
  4. Substantial publication history in a variety of journals and media, or of public spoken word performances; 
  5. Recognition in the field (including literary awards, prizes, grants, residencies, and fellowships);
  6. Demonstrated commitment to promoting awareness of poetry; and
  7. Correctly completed application submitted by the deadline. 

Please note: Poets laureate within a state may submit a collaborative application. We encourage you to contact us at [email protected] before doing so. 

Please also note: By law the Academy of American Poets must report cash prizes awarded to individuals to the Internal Revenue Service. If individuals have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), the individual will receive a 1099. If the individual does not have an SSN or ITIN, the individual will receive a 1042 and could be subject to a withholding of a percentage of the cash award.
Submissions guidelines:
In one continuous document, please submit:
  1. Your curriculum vitae, which includes your name and current contact information, the date of your appointment to Poet Laureate (please name the state, city, US territory, or Tribal nation of which you are Poet Laureate), and information such as your current and past employment, publication history, awards, performances and readings, past public poetry projects, and education; 
  2. A 1,000 word statement that includes: a) a detailed description of the project or projects you would conduct within the next twelve months that engage youth and/or address important statewide or local issues, including the anticipated reach or impact (please see the 2019 cohort of Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows and their projects), b) a timeline of activities, and c) a budget (while the fellowship award is unrestricted, this will demonstrate how funds will enable your project. Budgets may range from $5,000 to $55,000 as a portion of funds are intended to support your literary work); and 
  3. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your ability and capacity to carry out your proposed project or projects, and their contact information.
  4. If you are able to secure an in-kind match from a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, of which you are not employed, of up to $10,000 in support of your project, the Academy will match that amount in a financial contribution to the nonprofit if you are awarded an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. Please provide a letter from the nonprofit organization, which includes their contact information, confirming the details of their contribution. We encourage collaborations with the State Centers for the Book
  5. Alternatively, if you are able to secure a contribution of up to $10,000 in cash in support of your project from a local foundation or business (not owned or operated by a relative and with a legitimate physical address, phone number, and website), we will provide a matching amount to you after their disbursement in addition to fellowship funds if you are awarded an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. Please provide a letter from the foundation or business, which includes their contact information, confirming the details of their contribution. 
Online submissions are accepted for the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships through our submission manager, Submittable.
Applications must be .doc, .docx, or .pdf files.
The Academy of American Poets assumes no responsibility for applications not received due to user error. Applicants may verify the receipt of their manuscript by logging into Submittable.
If you have questions about the submission process or need accommodation, please don't hesitate to contact us.
All applicants will be notified of the award results by email by April 30, 2020.
All correspondence concerning the fellowships and applications should be addressed to the Academy of American Poets. Current Poets Laureate with questions about this opportunity are encouraged to contact [email protected]
The decisions of the Academy of American Poets as to eligibility are final.