The Poetry Center at SF State will benefit from a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation that will enable literary organizations nationwide to produce programs on themes of social importance featuring leading contemporary poets.
The Ford Foundation awarded the two-year grant to The Poetry Coalition, of which The Poetry Center is a founding member. The coalition announced the grant July 6.
The Academy of American Poets will administer the grant, which will also fund two annual meetings of the coalition’s founding members.
“Having support from the Ford Foundation is an important validation of the vital role poetry plays in our culture and communities,” said Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. “It is through poetry that we learn about one another on a fundamental human level. This support is also a key endorsement of poetry organizations working together in a new, collaborative way.”
Steve Dickison, director of The Poetry Center, said it is an honor to participate in the Poetry Coalition: “Our ongoing work on behalf of poets and what they do stands to be recognized more readily as we engage in programs of mutual concern with our peer organizations across the country.”
The Poetry Coalition, launched in November 2015, is an alliance of more than 20 nonprofit poetry organizations in 11 cities working together to raise the profile of poets and poetry in the United States. Its inaugural programming began in March with “We Come From Everything: Poetry and Migration,” which reached 100,000 individuals with publications, readings and social media projects. Poetry Coalition members believe that poetry can uniquely spark dialogue and contribute to encouraging empathy.
— Matt Itelson
Photo: Layli Long Soldier reads from her work at The Poetry Center on March 2. This event was part of the Poetry Coalition’s nationwide theme, “Because We Come From Everything: Poetry and Migration.” Photo courtesy of Documentary Film Institute.