Undocupoets Fellowship

The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation is proud to host the Undocupoets Fellowship, sponsored by Amazon Literary Partnership.





The mission of Undocupoets is to promote the work of undocumented poets and raise consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community. We believe in supporting all poets, regardless of immigration status. 

About Undocupoets

In 2015, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Javier Zamora, and Christopher Soto founded the Undocupoets Campaign to protest the discriminatory behavior of many first-book publishing contests in poetry, which prohibited undocumented poets from applying. On the Apogee journal website, the Undocupoets published an open petition asking ten highly visible and renowned first-book poetry contests to reconsider and update the language stating U.S. citizenship as a requirement for submission/publication. The campaign was successful and, with the help of the Undocupoets, the guidelines at all ten contests were altered (to varying degrees) to reflect more inclusive publishing. For their work, the Campaign’s founders were awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, established by Poets & Writers.

Following the petition, the Undocupoets released several interviews and news articles, as well as hosted events and published a literary magazine feature to celebrate the work of undocumented poets. Some of the organizations with whom the Undocupoets have also collaborated include: Asian American Writers Workshop, Best American Poetry Blog, Canto Mundo, Fusion News, Lambda Literary Foundation, Southern Humanities Review, Split This Rock, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, The New Republic, and more. 

Steering the 2018–2019 Undocupoets Campaign are Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Janine Joseph, and Esther Lin.


2019 Undocupoets Fellowship Overview

The Undocupoets Fellowship, in partnership with Amazon Literary Partnership and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, will grant TWO $500 fellowships, with no strings attached, to undocumented or previously undocumented poets to help defray the cost of poetry-related fees.

Submissions Process

This fellowship is intended for any writers who are currently undocumented or who were formerly undocumented in the United States.

Please submit up to 10 pages of poetry, with no more than one poem per page, per individual. In addition, please include a cover letter with a bio and brief description of your current work or manuscript-in-progress.

At least one of the two fellowships awarded will be given to LGBTQ Undocumented poets, per an agreement with Sibling Rivalry Press. Please indicate on your bio if you identify as LGBTQ.

While no single fellowship recipient will receive more than $500 on any given year, fellowships can be awarded to the same individual for multiple years.

Deadline: 11:59 PM, January 31, 2019

Please apply via Submittable here



Aline Mello is an editor and writer of poetry and prose. She is an immigrant from Brazil and spends much of her time volunteering with immigrant students. Her work can be found in On She Goes, St. Sucia, Saint Katherine Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her sister and two pups. She thinks we need a big party for all undocumented people, where all the moms can bring tamales and the dads can set up the sound system and the tables, and we can have bolo de cenoura and pão de queijo and horchata and caipirinha, and people can bring all the good dancing music and teach each other how the steps go, and every time someone looks at someone else and says, “Man, it’s rough. We’re so much more than that,” both will nod and know they’re talking about the same thing. Her handle for all things social is @thealinemello.

Jesus I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer based in Austin, Texas. Jesus is originally from Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and is a proud fronteriz@. Jesus was a semifinalist for the Write Bloody 2016 poetry contest and is excited to take the risk of putting work out in the world and creating documents that exist outside the realm of “legal fictions.” As a writer and storyteller, Jesus has presented work at Greetings, From Queer Mountain, The Megaphone Show, The Encyclopedia Show, and The Austin Storytelling Slam. Jesus holds a Master’s in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach, where he focused on studying critical race theory, performance ethnography, and qualitative research methods. His research on Latina domestic workers working in Los Angeles earned him the recognition of Dean’s Outstanding Graduate Student and was presented at both the National Communication Association and International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Jesus currently teaches social and emotional learning to high school students, focusing primarily on students recently arrived to the U.S. He is also a proud company member of the Vortex Repertory Company, Shrewd Productions, and an executive board member for Teatro Vivo. As an actor, he’s been nominated for five B. Iden Payne awards, and is the recipient of the 2016 and 2017 awards for Outstanding Actor in Theatre for Youth. Jesus is continuing work on a poetry manuscript tentatively called (Un)Documents and a solo performance of the same name. Above all, he owes all that he is to his parents, who risked everything and have asked for nothing in return. Muchisimo amor.


Jan-Henry Gray. Jan-Henry Gray was born in the Philippines, grew up in California, and was a chef in San Francisco for 12 years. He received his MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago where he was an editor of the Columbia Poetry Review. A recipient of a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award, Jan’s work is published in The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, Puerto del Sol, Southern Humanities Review, Ano Ba Zine, and Assaracus. He is working on his first book.

Esther Lin. Esther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. She is a 2017–19 Wallace Stegner Fellow, and was a Poets House Emerging Poet and Queens Council on the Arts fellow in 2015. She was also a participant in the Cave Canem Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Adroit, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, Guernica, Vinyl, and elsewhere.

Anni Liu. Anni Liu was born and raised in Xi’an, China and Ohio. She has worked as a church pianist, harvested apples, copyedited mystery novels, and sat cats. She is currently a student and associate instructor in Indiana University’s MFA program where she will serve as Indiana Review‘s poetry editor next academic year. Her work is published or forthcoming in Grist Journal, Monster House Press Quarterly, and Sonora Review

Yosimar ReyesYosimar Reyes is a nationally acclaimed poet, educator, performance artist and public speaker. Born in Guerreo, Mexico and raised in Eastside San Jose Reyes explores the themes of migration and sexuality in his work. His first collection of poetry, For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly… was self-published after a collaboration with the legendary Carlos Santana. He was featured in the Documentary, 2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry. Reyes has toured and presented in University campuses all over the United States. He is the co-founder of performance ensemble, La Maricolectiva, a community based performance group of queer undocumented poets. Reyes’ work has been published in various online journals as well as Mariposas: An anthology of Queer Modern Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press), Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out (Cognella Press) and the forthcoming Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry (Kórima Press) Reyes holds a B.A in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is an Arts Fellow at Define American, an organization founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (DefineAmerican.Com). Reyes is currently working on his one-man show with Guerrilla Rep Theater to premier in the near future.

Juan Rodriguez. Juan Rodriguez was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He is an undocumented, disabled writer of color residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Utah.

Undocupoets on Commonplace

LISTEN: Undocupoets on Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People):  

Episode 1
Episode 2

Support the Undocupoets Fellowship and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation

The Undocupoets Fellowship, in partnership with Amazon Literary Partnership and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, will annually grant fellowships, with no strings attached, to undocumented or formerly undocumented poets to help defray the cost of poetry-related submission fees.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation to support the Undocupoet Fellowship and more programs and projects like this one, click here to access our PayPal donation link. You can also contribute by sending a check made payable to:

Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation
PO Box 26147
Little Rock, AR 72221

The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation. Its mission is defined as follows: The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation will work to organize, support, and promote literary events, readings, conferences, and workshops; support small presses; support small press authors; preserve small press publications of historical value; and support literary projects that give people permission to be, with an emphasis on (but not exclusive to) LGBTQ-oriented projects. For general inquiries or questions, contact us through email at foundation@siblingrivalrypress.com or by calling 870-723-6008. Contributions to support the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.