“Poetry lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.” —Audre Lorde

 

The Academy of American Poets deeply mourns the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor and too many others who should be alive today. We explicitly denounce state-sanctioned violence, white supremacy, and the racist belief systems that have been with us throughout our nation’s history. Black lives matter. 

In our mission to support poets, we must make unequivocally clear the essential and influential contributions that Black, Indigenous, and all poets of color have made and make to American poetry. 

As an organization devoted to poetry, we believe in the power of language to promote compassion and help us imagine new paths forward and a nation in which justice and equity are not just valued, but acted upon. Yet we know words are not enough. 

We will raise at least $50,000 to be given to nonprofit poetry organizations and presses that center BIPOC, to be recommended by our Chancellors

For an update on this pledge, visit: https://poets.org/ten

We will help raise more funding for Artist Relief, an emergency fund for poets, writers, and artists established in response to Covid-19, which, as we know, has disproportionately impacted African American and Indigenous communities. We encourage other institutions that are able to please donate to this fund and others that are providing assistance and mutual aid. 

Programmatically, beginning today and for the rest of the summer, we will dedicate Poem-a-Day to Black poets, engaging a number of Black curators. 

For an update on this pledge, visit: https://poets.org/academy-american-poets-announces-six-new-poem-day-guest-editors-summer-series-centering-black-poets

We will create a new series for Poets.org that features essays by poets of color. 

We will accelerate a project to add biographies of Black, Indigenous, and all poets of color who have contributed to shaping American poetry to Poets.org.  

We also offer these protest poems and this Black Lives Matter anthology

In the weeks ahead we will scrutinize all of our current programs and policies to ensure that every aspect of our organization reflects our values of anti-racism, collaboration, equity, and inclusion and to join in our community’s efforts toward dismantling all vestiges of discrimination that persist.

We acknowledge that this work, which also involves listening and learning, is ongoing and our commitment is steadfast. 

We stand in solidarity with all who are speaking, singing, marching, and acting against injustice, even as we continue to grieve.  

We are each other’s
harvest: 
we are each other’s
business: 
we are each other’s 
magnitude and bond.

Gwendolyn Brooks