50 LA area literary organizations appeal to City Council for stimulus funding; PEN America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund grants

February shot of downtown Los Angeles with Mount Baldy in the background after a large snow storm. Photo was taken from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Photograph courtesy of Alek Leckszas CC BY-SA 4.0

“Publishing and printing alone account for 160,000 jobs in our city, and combined with writers in fashion and entertainment, we make up a significant portion of the creative industry in LA. Supporting arts and the creative community means supporting literary organizations and writers.” said Michelle Franke,

Today, PEN America–alongside 826LA, Lambda Literary, and Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, and close to 50 Los Angeles area organizations–appealed to the Los Angeles City Council to provide support for literary organizations in any upcoming funding decisions related to the COVID-19 recovery. In a letter sent to Council members today, PEN America and its allies insisted literary organizations be specifically represented in any efforts to revitalize the larger arts community in the city.

“The City Council has already done so much to support the arts and nonprofits at this critical time, and we, along with our allies, are hoping to ensure literary organizations are included in those efforts,” said Michelle Franke, executive director of PEN America’s Los Angeles office. “Publishing and printing alone account for 160,000 jobs in our city, and combined with writers in fashion and entertainment, we make up a significant portion of the creative industry in LA. Supporting arts and the creative community means supporting literary organizations and writers. We hope the Council agrees.”

In addition to including literary organizations in future stimulus funding, the letter also calls for relief for commercial rents for nonprofit literary organizations and funding to support a Los Angeles COVID-19 narrative project that would commission and pay writers to document the effects of the pandemic of the lives of people in Los Angeles.

“The literary arts are not optional; they are essential to our city and our communities,” the letter reads. “Writers are our conscience, our watchdogs, leading in the important work of bearing witness to history and helping us make sense of our lives and our world. We must ensure that their work continues.”

PEN America has more than 7,500 writers, journalists, and other literary professionals and their allies as members across the country. Many are facing significant hardships as writing jobs, as well as side gigs, have all but evaporated under the strain of the coronavirus and the concurrent economic downturn. A survey from Americans for the Arts showed that some 95 percent of artists and creative professionals have lost income due to the pandemic. Literary and media arts organizations have reported median losses over $200,000 per organization.

PEN America


PEN America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund provides grants of $500 to $1,000 to writers in the United States facing acute financial need as a result of the pandemic.  Since the fund re-launched in response to the crisis in late March, PEN America has received some 850 applications and so far processed grants to 400 writers, including 107 in the state of California.


This post is courtesy of PEN America.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Jamie Dedes:

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Poetry rocks the world!


For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

HEADS-UP CA: $24.5 Million to fund 1,300 arts grants to marginalized communities in California


California State Flag

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the California Arts Council website to learn about future grant opportunities as details become available. Applications for most grants programs are expected to open in fall or winter of 2019.

Yesterday, the California Arts Council announced 1,243 grant awards totaling $20,823,541 in project and operational support for nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state of California. Two additional grant programs, providing support for local, regional and statewide arts partnerships, are slated for approval by the Council at its meeting on June 25, increasing the total award amount for the 2018-19 fiscal year to a projected $24,508,541 across more than 1,300 grants. This will be the largest investment in arts and culture made in the last twenty years.

Awarded project designs span the whole of the arts and cultural fields, with funding offered in fourteen unique grant program areas addressing access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and aligning with the California Arts Council’s vision of a state strengthened by a spectrum of art and artists.

New artwork, events, classes, workshops, and other opportunities for creative expression funded through these projects will directly benefit our state’s communities, with youth, veterans, returned citizens, and California’s historically marginalized communities key among them. This year’s projected total award amount marks an increase of more than $8.1 million over last year’s investment, the second highest investment in statewide arts programming, surpassed only by the 2000-01 fiscal year.

“Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair. “They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues—dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures. Our Council is humbled to support the vital work of these organizations and their passionate efforts to make a better California for us all.”

Lindo continued, “CAC grants are hard-won through a competitive process, and we applaud all those who applied this year. We encourage organizations who were not among the awardees to continue their efforts for a potential award next year, and we welcome the growth of our programs to bring new applicants into the fold.”

The California Arts Council’s grant programs are administered through a multistep, public process. Following an open call for applications, submissions are adjudicated by peer review panels made up of experts from the arts and cultural fields and representative of California’s diverse geography; racial, ethnic, and gender identities; perspectives and knowledge. Based on panel recommendations and availability of funds, the Council voted on grant awards at public meetings on January 30, March 26, and May 22 in San Bernardino, Sacramento and San Pedro, respectively. The final vote for the remaining two grant programs for FY18-19 will take place on June 25 in San Andreas.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the California Arts Council website to learn about future grant opportunities as details become available. Applications for most grants programs are expected to open in fall or winter of 2019.
Notification of grant program guidelines, applications, and technical assistance opportunities will be also published in the California Arts Council’s weekly e-newsletter, ArtBeat. Subscribe at http://arts.ca.gov/news/artbeat.php.



Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS announced its second round of funding for 2017

NEA logo, public domain

On June 14, as the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its second round of funding for FY 2017. This funding round includes partnerships with state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies. The NEA will award 1,195 grants totaling $84.06 million to support organizations that employ artists and cultural workers to provide programs for thousands of people from Idaho to Maine; in urban centers such as Cleveland, Ohio and Dallas, Texas; and in rural towns as different as Haines, Alaska and Whitesburg, Kentucky.

“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”

NEA-funded arts activities are as diverse as the places that foster them. A folk festival in downtown Butte, Montana; a former gas station transformed into a glass foundry in Farmville, North Carolina; dance classes for children with special needs in Winter Park, Florida; and a playwrights’ workshop in New Harmony, Indiana are just a few of the projects included in the lists below.

These lists are organized by:

State/Jurisdiction and then by City/Town and by Funding Category (Art Works II, Our Town, Research: Art Works, and state and regional partnerships) and then Artistic Discipline/Field, ranging from arts education to visual arts

Competition for NEA grants is significant. In this second funding round for FY 2017, the agency received 2,063 eligible applications. The value of NEA funding is not only its monetary impact but also its reputation. An NEA grant confers a seal of approval, allowing an organization to attract other public and private funds beyond the required 1:1 match. In 2016, the ratio of NEA dollars to matching funds was 1:9 or $500 million.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, use #NEASpring17.

ART WORKS II: 1,029 awards totaling $26.1 million

Art Works is the NEA’s largest category and focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts.

Examples of Art Works-supported projects are:

  • A $20,000 grant to Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre in Huntsville will provide free or reduced-cost clothing, equipment, nutrition, and professional instruction for underserved students during a summer dance program
  • A $20,000 grant to the Baltimore School for the Arts Foundation will support expansion of TWIGS (To Work In Gaining Skills), a free multidisciplinary arts education program for students from underserved communities
  • A $30,000 grant to the Montana Office of Public Instruction in Helena in partnership with the Montana Arts Council to help teachers and teaching artists integrate the arts into classroom instruction through the Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts Institute.

OUR TOWN: 89 awards totaling $6.89 million

Our Town is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. This practice places arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies to address a community’s challenges. Creative placemaking highlights the distinctiveness of a place, encouraging residents to identify and build upon their local creative assets.

Examples of Our Town-supported projects are:

  • A $75,000 grant to the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Missouri to support community planning and design for the theater’s expansion. The Lyceum is the only professional theater between Kansas City and St. Louis.
  • A $100,000 grant to the National Association of Counties Research Foundation to allow the foundation to train county staff and managers on how to do arts-based economic development across rural America.

In addition to funding, the NEA advances creative placemaking through publications and resource development. In December 2016, the NEA released How to Do Creative Placemaking, a collection of essays and case studies. Other materials are available on the NEA’s newly re-launched creative placemaking page.

RESEARCH: ART WORKS: 14 awards totaling $540,000

This year marks the sixth year that the NEA has offered funding for research by outside parties through the Office of Research & Analysis. This year’s funded studies investigate research questions about the value and/or impact of the arts, or studies will explore causal links between the arts and another domain of interest.

For example; the Affordable Housing Management Company based in Fishers, Indiana will receive a $90,000 grant to support a study examining the effects of music engagement on low-income, older adults.

STATE AND REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: 63 awards totaling $50.53 million

Through partnership agreements, the NEA translates national leadership into local and regional benefit. States and U.S. jurisdictions have their own arts agency that together receive 40 percent of the NEA’s grantmaking funds each year to support their programs and leverage state funding. In addition to these 55 agencies, six regional arts organizations are funded to manage programs across state, national, and international borders and across all arts disciplines.

In addition to the state and regional organizations, awards are made to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to support national leadership services and to Pacific Resources in Education and Learning for delivering arts education services and technical assistance to arts agencies of the Pacific territories.


  • Details on the threat by the current administration to NEA’s 2018 budget HERE.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

NEA logo, public domain

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit http://www.arts.gov.


SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENT: Calls for Submission, Contests and other News and Information

fullsizerender-2 CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Opportunities Knock

VALLUM CONTEMPORARY POETRY was founded in 2000 and is based in Montreal. The publisher says, “As one of Canada’s top poetry journals with an international focus, Vallum encourages dialogue between Quebec and the rest of Canada and allows Canadian artists to exchange ideas with acclaimed and emerging artists from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, India and other countries around the world.”  The magazine is in hardcopy and digital. Poetry is accepted by snail mail only, no electronic submissions. Details HERE. Submissions are accepted year-round, but I’m waiting to here back from the editors regarding theme and specific deadline for the next issue. I’ll post that for you when received and you can also watch the site for updates as well.

THE TISHMAN REVIEW publishes poetry, fiction, micro-fiction, flash fiction, short stories, creative nonfiction, interviews, book reviews and craft essays. Details HERE.

subTERRAIN, Strong Words for a Polite Nation “is published three times a year from modest offices just off of Main Street in Vancouver, BC. We strive to produce a stimulating fusion of fiction, poetry, photography and graphic illustration from uprising Canadian, U.S. & International writers and artists.”  subTerrain publishs art and commentary, creative nonfiction, fiction, photography, poetry and reviews. The deadline for Issue #77 is May 1, 2017 and the theme is “Interview Issue.”  The deadline for issue #78 is September 1, 2017 and the theme is “General Issue.” Details HERE.

THE BeZINE, a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, a virtual arts collective, is a digital publication that is published on the fifteenth of each month. The deadline is always  on the tenth. Submit via email to bardogroup@gmail.com.  Each issue is themed and the themes for each month are included in Submission Guidelines.  Please read the guidelines, one or two issues AND the Mission Statement before submitting. Special issues are April for interNational Poetry Month and September when we host a virtual 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) event for reader participation. This year 100TPC will be on September 30 and the September issue will post on the fifteenth as usual. The site was established in 2011 and the Zine is in publication now for three years.

BRILLIANT FLASH FICTION is a digital publication that accepts submissions of fiction –  1,000 words or less – on a rolling basis. Submission is by email. NO poetry.  Details HERE. This magazine is published quarterly.

HAIK/UNIVERSE is a Zine that publishes daily haiku or micro-poem. Details HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

VALLUM CONTEMPORARY POETRY is accepting submissions for the Vallum Award for Poetry 2017 and the deadline is July 15. First Prise is $750 and Second Prize is $250. The award includes publication. Details HERE. There is a reading fee.

VALLUM CHAPBOOK AWARD 2017 considers original and unpublished work for this competion. The prize is publication and $125. Details HERE.

THE TISHMAN REVIEW holds annual contests. Their contest page hasn’t been updated.  Monitor it for updates HERE.

BRILLIANT FLASH FICTION holds quarterly contests.  The deadline for the next contest is March 16, 2017. The prompt for which is Overseas Travel.  There is no entry fee. Details HERE

2017 SCIENCE FICTION POETRY CONTEST – hosted by the Science Fiction Poetry Association – opens on June 1 and the DEADLINE is August 31. “The 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest is open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members. Prizes will be awarded for best poem in 3 categories: Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words]); Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words]); Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up]). Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry allowed in any form. Entries will be read blind.” Details HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION $750 working Class Writers Grant ~ “Working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to financial barriers which have made it much harder for them to have access to the writing world. Such lack of access might include an inability to attend conventions, to purchase a computer, to buy books, to attend college or high school, to have the time to write (if, for example, you must work two jobs simply to pay rent and feed a family, or if you must spend all your waking hours job-hunting for months on end). The SLF would like to assist in finding more of these marginalized voices and bringing them into speculative fiction. Details HERE.

SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION $500 Diverse Writers and $500 Diverse Worlds Grants ~  “The SLF offers two new diversity-centered grants: Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds, both intended to foster the creation of speculative fiction work rich in diversity.

“The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process.
The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.”  Details HERE.

THE SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION Older Writer Grants ~ “The SLF currently offers four grants: The Older Writers’ Grant, the Travel Grant, the Working Class Writers Grant, and the Diversity Grant. All of our grants are free to apply, and are designed as ‘gateway’ grants, with easy and straightforward applications that should be quick to complete. We hope that they will both serve the community directly, and also encourage genre writers to explore the wide variety of grants, awards, and residencies available in the larger writing community.

“This grant is awarded annually to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of the grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. The SLF offers two $500 grants annually, to be used as each writer determines will best assist his or her work. We will be accepting applications for the grant starting in January.” Details HERE.


PLUME POETRY reading with seven poets including Lyn Emanuel, Linda Paston, Thomas Lux, Nancy Mitchell, John FitzGrrsld, Hélène Cordona, Elizabeth Metzger,Philip Fried, Marc Encnez, Chard deNiord, and Ira Sadoff at The Atrium, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC, Wednesday, February 8 from 7 – 9:30 pm.

POETS PUSH BACK Paris. Co-hosted by Moe Seager and Malik Crumpler in association with 100TPC NYC-San Francisco. Saturday, February 11. 7 p.m. Berkeley Books of Paris.


Congratulations to:


Submit your event, book launch and other announcements at least fourteen days in advance to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Publication is subject to editorial discretion.

41-mshkw5pl-_sx331_bo1204203200_The recommended read for this week is Borges’ The Craft of Verse. (One of my faves.) These are the famed lost lectures given in English at Harvard University (1967/68) by Jorge Luis Borges that were transcribed (c. 2000) and published in 2002.

The WordPlay Shop offers books and other tools especially selected for poets and writers. By making Amazon purchases through this site, you help support its maintenance.

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