Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Nate Marshall, Erika L. Sánchez, Danniel Schoonebeek, Safiya Sinclair, and Jamila Woods. Among the largest awards offered to young poets in the United States, the $25,800 prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry and is open to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age.

Established in 1989 by Ruth Lilly to encourage the further writing and study of poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program has dramatically expanded since its inception. Until 1995, university writing programs nationwide each nominated one student poet for a single fellowship; from 1996 until 2007, two fellowships were awarded. In 2008, the competition was opened to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age, and the number of fellowships increased to five, totaling $75,000. In 2013, the Poetry Foundation received a generous gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to create the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which increased the fellowship amount from $15,000 to $25,800.

Nate Marshall’s first book, Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. He is a co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). He is a visiting assistant professor at Wabash College, a founding member of the Dark Noise poetry collective, and a Cave Canem Fellow. His work has appeared in Poetry, Indiana Review, and The New Republic, among other publications. He was the star of the award-winning documentary “Louder Than A Bomb” and has been featured in the HBO Original Series “Brave New Voices.” Marshall received the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award and the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award.

Erika L. Sánchez is a CantoMundo Fellow and winner of the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. She has received scholarships from the Fulbright Program and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her poetry has appeared in Boston Review, diode, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, Pleiades, Poetry, “Latino USA” on NPR, and the anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (2015). Her nonfiction has been published in Al Jazeera, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Salon, and many others. Sánchez lives in Chicago.

Danniel Schoonebeek’s American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014) was named one of the year’s ten standout debuts by Poets & Writers. Schoonebeek’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Tin House, Iowa Review, Fence, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, jubilat, Guernica, and elsewhere. He has received awards and honors from the Millay Colony for the Arts, Poets House, the Ace Hotel, and Oregon State University. Schoonebeek hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and has served as editor of the PEN Poetry Series since 2013. His second book, a travelogue called C’est la guerre, is forthcoming from Poor Claudia in 2015.

Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia. Her first full-length collection, Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, The Journal, Sonora Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded a writing fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Amy Clampitt Residency Award, an Emerging Writer Fellowship from Aspen Summer Words, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She is currently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California, where she is a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow.

Poet, singer, and teaching artist Jamila Woods has been called “a modern-day Renaissance woman” by the Chicago Sun-Times. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has been published by MUZZLE, Third World Press, and Poetry. She is the associate artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and a founding member of its Teaching Artist Corps. Woods is a member of Dark Noise, a collective of poets and educators of color, and the frontwoman of Chicago-based soul music duo M&O. She lives in Chicago.

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About the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship Program
Established in 1989 by Ruth Lilly to encourage the further writing and study of poetry, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Poetry Fellowship program has dramatically expanded since its inception. Until 1995, university writing programs nationwide each nominated one student poet for a single fellowship; from 1996 until 2007, two fellowships were awarded. In 2008 the competition was opened to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age, and the number of fellowships increased to five, totaling $75,000. In 2013, the Poetry Foundation received a generous gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to create the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which increased the fellowship amount from $15,000 to $25,800.

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. In recent years, Poetry has been honored with three National Magazine Awards. It celebrated its centennial in 2012.

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 partnerships, prizes, and programs. Opened to the public in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation building in Chicago provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events. It also houses a public garden, a library, and an exhibition gallery as well as the offices of the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine.

Learn more about the foundation »

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Past Prize Recipients

2007
Sean Brian Bishop
Megan Grumbling

2006
Colin Cheney
David Krump

2004
Nathan Bartel
Emily Moore

2002
Emily Rosko
Marc Bittner

1998
Christine Stewart
Robin Cooper-Stone

1996
Erin G. Brooks
Zarina Mullan Plath

1995
Matt D. Collinsworth

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