The Poetry Coalition is a national alliance of nearly thirty 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. Members are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is to promote poets and poetry, and/or multi-genre literary organizations that serve poets in the disability community and of specific racial, ethnic, or gender identities, backgrounds, or communities. All members present poets at live events. (Founding members are denoted with an asterisk.)
Each March, members present programming across the country on a theme of social importance, which has included poetry & migration, poetry & the body, poetry & democracy, poetry & protest, and poetry & environmental justice. Programs range from publications to panels, readings, and other public events.
From March through June 2022, the Poetry Coalition explored the theme “The future lives in our bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice” in a series of programs in eleven cities that will reach more than 300,000 individuals nationwide. The line “The future lives in our bodies” is from the poem “Femme Futures” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
In May 2020, the Poetry Coalition launched the Poetry Coalition Fellowship program, a three-year pilot program that will offer paid fellowship positions to five fellows per year (a total of fifteen fellows) who will each assist a different Poetry Coalition organization for twenty hours per week over the course of a forty-week period. The five organizations that hosted the inaugural Poetry Coalition Fellows from September 2020 to June 2021 were CantoMundo, Cave Canem, Kundiman, Mizna, and Split This Rock. The second cohort of Poetry Coalition Fellows were hosted by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Beyond Baroque, Indigenous Nations Poets (In-Na-Po), Lambda Literary, and Zoeglossia, from September 2021 to June 2022. The third cohort of Poetry Coalition Fellows will be hosted by Letras Latinas, Mass Poetry, Urban Word, Woodland Pattern, and Youth Speaks from September 2022 to June 2023.
On August 18, 2020, the founding members of the Poetry Coalition presented a live broadcast of One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives. In this first-ever nationwide reading curated by the coalition, a poet invited by each founding member organization shared a poem in support of Black lives. Readers included Kazim Ali, Kimberly Blaeser, Jericho Brown, Kwame Dawes, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Safia Elhillo, Martín Espada, Sesshu Foster, Alberto Ríos, Monica Youn, and more.
The Academy of American Poets is the administrative and fiscal coordinator of the Poetry Coalition and we are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their support of this work. For more information please contact [email protected] and follow along on social media at #PoetryCoalition.