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Poetry Foundation Announces 2018 Poetry Incubator Seed Grant Recipients

Two emerging poet activists selected from applicants across the United States.
December 5, 2018

CHICAGO— The Poetry Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Poetry Incubator Seed Grants. The $2,000 grants made possible by the Mellon Foundation are awarded annually to two members of the Poetry Incubator cohort for their community works initiatives. This year’s winners are Victor Jackson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Ashley Mack-Jackson of Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Victor and Ashley are poets whose creative work is nurtured by and in service to their communities. It is incredible to witness the passion that they bring to their own creative work and to giving back,” says Ydalmi Noriega, Community and Foundation Relations Director. “We are grateful to be able to provide seed grants for their projects that will help them grow as poets and organizers, continuing to bring a spirit of service and collaboration wherever they go.”

Nine of the 24 Incubator Fellows submitted grant proposals. Unlike other grant programs, which require applicants to submit to an outside committee, the seed grant recipients are selected by and accountable to their peers, the other Fellows. This year’s winners were chosen for the strength of their commitment to their home communities, clear goals,  and actionable visions.

Victor Jackson’s OURchive is a two-part archival initiative, seeking to empower Philadelphia through the idea that​ all people deserve to be valued and protected regardless of talent, class, belief, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability​. OURchive will begin with gathering a community-based space in in Uncle Bobbie’s Cafe and Bookstore, nicknamed “People’s Sanctuary,” then grow into a digital archive hosting art, literature, and journalism around social justice, social reform, and the survival of oppressive systems. The digital archive will be a resource both for those in Philadelphia and worldwide who want to better understand the city’s cultural contributions and history.

Ashley Mack-Jackson’s extension of Indianapolis’s Word As Bond builds on a resource already available in her community by developing a paid internship program. Word As Bond has provided free creative writing training to Indianapolis youth since 2013. Mack-Jackson’s project increases the program’s offerings in summertime, when many young people who would otherwise avail themselves of Word’s resources have to work. The Word As Bond Summer Internship Program offers an alternative to typical seasonal employment, giving interns the opportunity to grow their creative practice with compensation for that labor. This internship not only helps young poets grow as artists, but understand the value of their work.

The Poetry Incubator, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary,  brings emerging poets from across the United States to Chicago to spend three days learning from esteemed poetry faculty about how to enhance their craft while proactively serving their home communities with art. There is no fee to apply to or attend, and Fellows have the option to stay in university housing free of charge. The program culminates with the Chicago Poetry Block Party, a celebration of poetry, music, and art.

Past winners of the Incubator Seed Grants include Christian Arthur and Shauna Osborn.

Application to the 2019 Incubator will be released in 2019.

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 Crescendo Literary
A collaboration between poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, Crescendo Literary creates and curates events, works of art, and educational resources grounded in the belief that 1) artists can, should, and must be accountable to the communities from which they emerge, and 2) communities, in turn, are strengthened by the meaningful presence of excellent art. For more information, please visit

Media contact:
Media Associate Liz O’Connell-Thompson,  [email protected], 312.799.8065

For questions about participating in the Poetry Incubator:
Ydalmi Noriega, Community and Foundation Relations Director, [email protected], 312.799.8008

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