Alison Bechdel and Juan Felipe Herrera to Judge 2020 National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students

New York, NY (August 6, 2019)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that renowned graphic memoirist and comic book artist Alison Bechdel and former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will judge the 2020 National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students. The winner of the contest will receive $500, a $500 gift certificate to Blick Art Materials, and art supplies from Sakura Color Products of America, and the winning artwork will be featured on the official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster, which the Academy will distribute to 100,000 libraries, schools, and bookstores nationwide during National Poetry Month. The winning student will also receive signed copies of books by this year's judges and be featured in American Poets magazine and on Poets.org, which reaches millions of readers each year. 

Established in 2019, the National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students is part of the Academy's growing arts and humanities education efforts and designed to encourage students' engagement with poetry. The first-ever winner of the contest was tenth grader Julia Wang from San Jose, California, whose artwork was selected from among twelve outstanding finalists and more than 450 student submissions by judges Debbie Millman and Naomi Shihab Nye. The artwork includes lines by former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and was featured on the poster in April 2019. 

The artwork to be featured on the 2020 poster will incorporate lines from "Remember," a poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

Submissions to the 2020 National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students will be accepted online from September 1 through October 25, 2019, and the winner will be announced in January 2020. Students living in the United States and in grades 9 through 12 during the 2019–2020 academic year are eligible to submit. 

For more information about the contest, including the full guidelines, visit www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/national-poetry-month-poster-contes…

About Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Mariner Books, 2006), which Time magazine named the Best Book of 2006, was adapted into a Broadway musical by the playwright Lisa Kron and the composer Jeanine Tesori. It won five Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” About Bechdel's memoir Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama (Mariner Books, 2012), Katie Roiphe of the New York Times Book Review wrote, "The book delivers lightning bolts of revelation, maps of insight and visual snapshots of family entanglements in a singularly beautiful style.” Bechdel’s comics, which include the long-running series Dykes to Watch Out For, have appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. She is the recipient of an Eisner Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Stonewall Book Award. In 2014 she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

About Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2015 to 2017. He is the author of many collections of poetry, including Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights, 2015), Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press, 2013), and Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008), a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. His books for children include Jabberwalking (Candlewick Press, 2018), which won the International Latino Book Award; Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (Dial Books, 2014); SkateFate (Rayo, 2011); and The Upside Down Boy (Children's Book Press, 2000), which was adapted into a musical in New York City. Herrera has received fellowships and grants from the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stanford Chicano Fellows Program, and the University of California at Berkeley. He has also received the L.A. Times Book Prize's Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. Herrera is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Fresno and UC Riverside. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016. 

About National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and takes place each April. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the United States with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, community centers, and poets honoring poetry's vital place in our culture. The special month of programs is made possible by more than seventy poetry partners and sponsors, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Resources for celebrating the month, which includes Poem in Your Pocket Day and the Dear Poet Project, can be found at Poets.org, the official information hub for the occasion.   

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is our nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry. Founded in 1934, 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 award-winning resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards more funds to poets than any other organization. It also coordinates and supports the work of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than twenty poetry organizations 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.