“The NEA fellowship in poetry that I received in 2005 came at a time when I felt as if I was barely afloat in a sea of aspirations, fighting against a soul-murdering tide of self doubt and penury. The NEA funding was a life raft of affirmation and a headwind toward shore—enough to keep me boosted in faith and finances until I reached steady ground. NEA funding is a landmark for so many artists, a sign that someone out there hears their heart-borne signals through the storm and wants to share and boost that signal —that there is an official branch of this nation that values their contribution to the American story. To eliminate the NEA is to surrender to the idea that our nation's art is of no value, that its citizenry are not worth the small investment the NEA represents in our national budget. We can't afford to deny our multi-tongued, multi-hued, many-faithed populace the life buoy of the NEA. We cannot afford to surrender to the storm.”

Tyehimba Jess

The National Endowment for the Arts is the largest single funder of the arts across America and has helped make Poets.org possible. Learn more about how you can support the NEA.