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Mississippi’s Catherine Pierce named Poet Laureate Fellow by Academy of American Poets

Mississippi poets
Photo courtesy of Catherine Pierce/website

The Academy of American Poets has named Mississippi’s Poet Laureate, Catherine Pierce, as one of its Poet Laureate Fellows for 2022.

Pierce is one of only 22 individuals to receive this year’s honor, which includes $50,000 to support their respective public poetry projects. According to Pierce, she’ll use the money to launch a statewide poetry-writing initiative for young people.

“The belief that poetry is for everyone is at the heart of my work in this role, and one of my key goals is to find ways to help young people across Mississippi access poetry in ways that are meaningful for them,” Pierce said.

The Danger Days author and Mississippi State professor added that, in collaboration with the Mississippi Center for the Book, poem prompts will be distributed to all K-12 schools across the state, along with resources to help teachers incorporate the prompt into their classes.

Schools will then select poems from each grade and submit them to a panel of Mississippi poets who will be in charge of selecting statewide winners. The winners will be invited to the Mississippi Young Writers Poetry Festival to read their work and partake in multiple writing workshops.

“The statewide poetry-writing initiative and Mississippi Young Writers Poetry Festival will bring poetry and its pleasures into the daily lives of Mississippi students in concrete ways,” Pierce said. “The laureate fellowship is a tremendous honor, and I’m so excited about the work it’s going to let me pursue

The 2023 Mississippi Young Writers Poetry Festival will be hosted in Starkville in April 2023.

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