“Receiving an NEA fellowship in poetry in 2013 changed my life in profound ways. As a queer, disabled poet, I have not always felt or been welcome in the academy or in larger schools of poets; what's more, employment opportunities (in the academy, in the arts, but also in general) are not abundant for queer or disabled folks, & residencies & creative writing programs are often wildly inaccessible. This award validated for me the importance of queer & disabled voices—mine, yours—& arrived at a moment when I was in dire need of financial support. The NEA not only kept me alive, but also allowed me to funnel time toward creative pursuits that prioritized marginalized voices. Since the NEA, I've published my first book, received the Amy Lowell, & am currently teaching in a tenure-track assistant professorship at my first-choice institution. The NEA was a turning point; it allowed me a kind of futurity I could have only dreamed of: to go to work every day & insist on the creative curiosity & intellectual rigor that culture-makers like poets & writers require in order to fully interrogate—& therefore preserve—our collective integrity. I am deeply proud to be a part of the NEA lineage & immensely grateful to have come from—& be of—so many NEA-funded youth programs, non-profit organizations, & presses that raised me right.”

—Meg Day

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