“My husband, three-year-old daughter, and I had just moved to Los Angeles and were living with my in-laws and looking for a place of our own when I received a 2003 Literature Fellowship in Poetry. It's not an exaggeration to say that at that moment, the grant changed everything. The money—and the demonstration of income from writing—helped us to buy the house in which we still live. The Literature Fellowship on my curriculum vitae helped me to get teaching jobs. It bought me time to complete my first book, Rope Bridge, which was published in 2005, and to write the earliest poems for the manuscript that eventually became my second book, Unfinished City, which has just come out. Most of all, it gave me tremendous encouragement that not just a friend or teacher, but a panel of distinguished writers, found my work worthy of support—and not just any award, but one that affirmed the importance of the arts in American life and of American voices in poetry.”

Nan Cohen

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