FYI: Fellowships and Poetry Prizes for Young Poets

The Nine Muses
The Nine Muses


The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce a $1.2 million gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to support the work of aspiring young poets. The Memorial Fund has awarded the prestigious “Dorothy Prizes” to young poets since 2004, and the Poetry Foundation has offered the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships to young poets since 1989. With this new endowment, the current $15,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship prize will nearly double, thereby giving five young poets a more auspicious start to their careers. The newly enhanced prize will be named the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowships, honoring two extraordinary women and their commitment to poetry. The first of these new fellowships will be announced and awarded in 2014.

“The Poetry Foundation is thrilled to begin this important fellowship program with a poetry organization that shares our dedication to and support of promising young poets,” said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation. “Some of our most noted poets writing today are Lilly Fellowship recipients who have benefited from being given the time to work and the confidence that this prize engenders.”

The Dorothy Prizes—officially the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Annual Poetry Prizes—were established by Dorothy’s husband, Marvin Rosenberg, playwright and acclaimed Shakespeare scholar, in memory of his wife, herself a published poet. Over the past nine years more than 350 prizes, ranging from to $1,000 to $10,000, have been awarded to fine young writers under the age of 40. Entries for this year’s upcoming contest are due on or before October 5.

“Now it is time for the balance of Marvin’s bequest to be deployed in a long-lasting way for the benefit of young poets,” said Barr Rosenberg, Marvin and Dorothy’s son and trustee of the Memorial Fund. “We are delighted to make this gift on Marvin’s behalf to the Poetry Foundation, so that the funds can continue to be dedicated to Marvin’s long-held dream of giving encouragement and substantial financial support to promising young writers. This is exactly what Marvin would have wished.”

“This gift adds another dimension to Ruth Lilly’s legacy of encouraging young writers at a crucial time in their careers,” said Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine. “It will provide more support for each poet and help to sustain a more diverse spectrum of writers.”

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships have encouraged the further writing and study of poetry among such esteemed poets and Fellowship recipients as Katherine Larson, Roger Reeves and Christian Wiman. The first Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship winner, Saskia Hamilton, has gone on to author several books of poetry and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2009. She now edits the journal Literary Imagination.

The success of the Dorothy Prizes can be seen in the consistently high quality of the lyric poetry submitted. Names of honorees, their winning work and a selection of Dorothy’s own poems can be viewed online. This year’s contest will be the last administered by the Rosenbergs, but they hope that the Dorothy Prizes may continue to flourish in the future. Individuals or organizations interested in taking over the administration of the Dorothy Prizes in 2014 are invited to be in contact with proposals via the Dorothy Prizes website.

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About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About Poetry Magazine
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.

– Poetry Foundation

Photo credit ~ Photographer unknown. The Muses Sarcophagus, which depicts the nine muses and their attributes. It was carved in marble around the first haf of the second century and by the Via Ostiense. The photograph is in the public domain. The sarcophagus in house at the Louvre Museum in the Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Denon wing, ground floor, room 25

ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 10 … celebrating women poets …

artemisOne of the things I appreciate about this particular poetry magazine – to me this is no small thing – the print is a reasonable size. I can enjoy it without wearing readers … unlike my also much appreciated Poetry Magazine (Poetry Foundation), which necessitates 3.50 readers. Yikes! Having got that off my chest . . .

Opening the cover of Issue 10 of ARTEMIS poetry (Second Light Network) was like unwrapping caramels: one chewy gem after another from the editorial by Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood to the back cover, which featured three poems by Alison Brackenbury, one of the two featured poets. The magazine is a celebration of poetry and women poets and artists and I found myself being introduced to more than the usual number of new-to-me women poets.

“2012-2013 is proving an annus mirabilis for the publication of poetry by women,” write Myra and Dilys in their editorial, “appropriately since we are on the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath‘s final burst of writing and her death in January 1962.”

Indeed, far more women poets are being published today than in my own youth (50s and early 60s) and a fair share are “celebrity” poets; not that I think that is necessarily the hallmark of the best, but it would seem to indicate a happy breakdown of barriers.

Of special interest was Adele Ward’s short feature on her experience starting and running a publishing company: Ward Wood Publishing. As a poet, writer and former columnist, I have followed the industry for years and find the developments evolving out of  the recession and new technologies an odd mix of fascinating, promising and distressing. Adele addresses women’s roles in publishing and the desire to keep traditional outlets open:.

“Initially, It surprised me that I was regularly congratulated on being a woman starting a publishing company because I hadn’t realized this was still an issue. I don’t see any obstacles to women starting and running this kind of business, but it’s certainly the hardest work I have ever had to do and I’ve had tough jobs in publishing, journalism, and distribution throughout my career. It can also be physically demanding work, as I’m often expected to move the furniture around at venues for events and to carry  a suitcase fill of books to launches, together with bottles of wine . . .

“There weren’t even a lot of women poets on our school curriculum in the 1970s. Times have changed and there are not only more women poets around, there are also more women wanting to face the challenge of keeping publishing outlets open. If we support each other by sharing our experiences and advice on how we have tackled the most difficult problems, poetry publishing will continue to thrive as we move out of recession?”

stainerThe second featured poet in this issue is Pauline Stainer, whose work has been likened to that of Ted Hughes, Frederico García Lorca, and Kathleen Raine. I particularly enjoyed the six poems and this little excerpt from one will give you an inkling why …

“They wear silk
shear as woven wind,
while the bells sewn
into their hems
sound like colours
in rippled water . . . “

The winners of the 2012 Poetry Competition were announced along with a sampling of poems and there was an interview of Mimi Khalvati by Ruth O’Callaghan. This is an organization that goes a long way toward encouraging narrative and long poems in both the content of the publication and in their poetry competitions. I found Myra Schneider’s piece, The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Narrative, worthwhile and I asked for permission to publish the entire piece HERE and extend my thanks once again to Myra for that gift.

With the generous permission of ARTEMISpoetry and poet Wendy Klein, I am able to share her poem with you this evening:

anything in turquiose ffront 2Bird 

….Installation by Anselm Kiefer

Even if you hate installations
there’s an element of purity
about this mammoth recycling of books
…………………………….as bird
………..its wings tatty notebooks
the pages torn or falling out
their whiff of damp or char
…………like scorched feathers

…………reminding me of the fire sales
she took me to as a child sewing grandma the one
who made things

………..There were shelves and tables
covered with tall bolts of cloth their edges
hideously singed her hands reverent
as she unrolled each unpromising bundle
planning curtains    planning
voluminous skirts
………..chintz-covered cushions
………………….rose covered coats
….their blossoms
bursting to escape
…………and in her eyes
the pride of the scavenger

……..Think road-kill red-tailed kites
their wing-span a fraction
the size of this ragged specimen
but functional earning their right
to the sky the planet

– Wendy Klein

In close, here is a bit more of Myra and Dily’s editorial. They address the concerns that all of us have who love, read and write poetry, regardless of our gender:

“The problem remains of how widely our excitement about women’s poetry – and all poetry – can be spread. The cultural revolution that is contemporary poetry – rich in voices that express all human concerns – has already happened. It needs to be recognised. So much poetry is vivid, accessible, meaningful. But the outreach is too small. We feel it is a great loss that such poetry is not reaching the many devourers of novels and biographies, far less winning its way to the attention of a broad base of young and old readers …

“It seems therefore extremely important that poetry and what it has to offer is promoted by the pressure of smaller initiatives. It can be done by modest acts of courage – who dares to suggest a poetry book to their Book Club? And generosity – when did you last buy a poetry book, two poetry books? And initiative – do you aim to put your poems on internet sites, write and submit a review of a book you admire? …

On that note: I am proud of all our poet-bloggers and their efforts to educate, support one another, and promote poetry. Thank you! and Bravo!

…. and thus we begin another week …

The work quoted from ARTEMIS poetry is under copyright by the magazine or the author/s and used here with permission.

Orhan Pamuk: The Fear of Being Left Outside, What Literature Needs to Address

Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952), Istanbul Turkey, Novelist
Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952), Istanbul Turkey, Novelist ~ photo courtesy of Mr. Pamuk

“What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity’s basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kin … Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world–and I can identify with them easily–succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities. I also know that in the West–a world with which I can identify with the same ease–nations and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid.”

—Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Lecture (translation by Maureen Freely), 2006


Some thoughts for today for us as writers, artists, and bloggers and simply as humans being. How do you feel about this statement? Is it fair?
… and thus we begin a new week …