American Poetry Grant/York Prize/Rabi Singh Passes Away – Poetry News Roundup February 3rd

We begin another week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the Academy of American Poets’ grant, the York Poetry prize 2020 and the passing of the poet Rabi Singh.

$4.5 Million Grant Given to Academy of American Poets

In recent years, the popularity of poetry in the US has increased dramatically. Last week the Academy of American Poets announced that it had received a grant to the tune of $4.5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Poets Laureate Program. It is believed that this is the largest ever donation made by a philanthropic institution in respect of poetry. The money will help to fund the next three years of the program.

The grant is being hailed as a “game-changer”. Whilst large grants to performing arts institutions are commonplace in the US it is rare for a grant of this size to be made in respect of poetry – $25,000 would be the normal amount they are awarded.

The project for Poet Laureates began last year and offers grants between $50,000 and $100,000 to a total of 13 poets based all over the country. They can use the grant money in whatever way they deem best to help promote poetry. This has included workshops in schools, workshops for adults and even yearlong poetry projects.

Whilst the award is staggering in size it is not the biggest philanthropic gift that has ever been made to poetry. That distinction lies with Ruth Lilly who in 2002 pledged $200 million to the poetry foundation in Chicago.

York Poetry Prize is in its Eighth Year

The eighth year of the York Poetry Prize has been launched for 2020. This is a major literary competition that will run alongside the York Literature Festival.

Sean O’Brien, a former winner of both the Forward Poetry Prize and the T.S Eliot Prize, will be the judge of this year’s competition, and entrants will have until April 13th to send in their entries.

O’Brien has been writing poetry for a number of years and has published a number of poetry books including a collection of shorter poems and also a book-length poem. He has won many awards during his lengthy career and is currently completing a translation on the works of the Kazakh National poet, Abai.

The competition offers a number of different prizes for a range of categories including an International Prize which is awarded to the best poem that has been submitted by an entrant who is not from the UK.

Rabi Singh, Revolutionary Poet Passes Away

Rabi Singh passed away at the weekend at his home in Khapuria, he was 89 and had been suffering with ill health for a number of years

Over the course of his career as a poet, Singh received many awards for the contribution, he made to Odia Literature. In 2017 he was awarded the Atibabi Jagannath das Samman. He was also a recipient of the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961.

He will be given a state funeral for his contributions to literature and also the county’s freedom movement.

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