Mellon Foundation Grants $2.2 Million to Academy of American Poets | Modern Society of USA

Mellon Foundation Grants $2.2 Million to Academy of American Poets

Mellon Foundation Grants $2.2 Million to Academy of American Poets

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.2 million to the Academy of American Poets.

It is by far the largest donation the Mellon Foundation has ever made in honor of the art form, said Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Mellon Foundation, who is a poet herself.

“Philanthropy hasn’t done a lot for poetry,” she said. “But on the other hand, poetry survives no matter what.”

The funds are divided into two grants. The first will help start a new fellowship program to support poets laureate of states, cities, United States territories or tribal nations across the country. (Applications open Jan. 15.) In April, the Academy of American Poets will bestow 10 to 20 fellowships that will range from $50,000 to $100,000 each.

The United States has 45 state poets laureate and more than 40 in cities who are called on to promote the art form regionally and locally. Yet most of them receive modest compensation, if any.

The Academy of American Poets fellowship will help fund creative programs during the poets’ terms. “It recognizes their own brilliance as poets and their ability to bring forward into communities the value of poetry,” Ms. Alexander said.

The second grant will go toward the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of more than 20 poetry organizations, several of which are nonprofits. The funding will support the coalition’s work over the next four years and will help create a pilot fellowship program that will offer part-time, paid positions at select member organizations.

The Academy of American poets was founded in 1934. It aims to amplify poets and poetry through a number of programs and publications, such as the website and National Poetry Month, which it founded in 1996.

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