The Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.2 million to the Academy of American Poets.

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.2 million to the Academy of American Poets.

By Sara Aridi

Jan. 15, 2019

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.2 million to the Academy of American Poets.

It is by far the largest donation the Mellon Foundation has ever made in honor of the art form, said Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Mellon Foundation, who is a poet herself.

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Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Photo: Djeneba Aduayom, New York Times

Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Photo: Djeneba Aduayom, New York Times

“Philanthropy hasn’t done a lot for poetry,” she said. “But on the other hand, poetry survives no matter what.”

The funds are divided into two grants. The first will help start a new fellowship program to support poets laureate of states, cities, United States territories or tribal nations across the country. (Applications open Jan. 15.) In April, the Academy of American Poets will bestow 10 to 20 fellowships that will range from $50,000 to $100,000 each.

The United States has 45 state poets laureate and more than 40 in cities who are called on to promote the art form regionally and locally. Yet most of them receive modest compensation, if any.

The Academy of American Poets fellowship will help fund creative programs during the poets’ terms. “It recognizes their own brilliance as poets and their ability to bring forward into communities the value of poetry,” Ms. Alexander said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/arts/mellon-foundation-poetry.html