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 are faced in the literary community. We believe in supporting all poets, regardless of immigration status.
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. For their work, the Campaign’s founders were awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, established by Poets & Writers. In fall 2016, Janine Joseph joined the Undocupoets Campaign in place of Christopher Soto as the project moved into the fellowship phase.
Many first book contests required proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency in order for a poet to submit for publication. The Undocupoets published an open petition on the Apogee journal website, which was signed by hundreds of poets, publishers, academics, activists, and community members, asking for these submission guidelines to be changed. The petition asked for ten highly-visible and renowned first book poetry contests to reconsider and remove the language stating U.S. citizenship as a requirement for submission/publication. To many people’s surprise, the petition worked and, with the help of the Undocupoets, the guidelines at all ten first book contests were altered (to varying degrees) to reflect more inclusive publishing.
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, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Lambda Literary Foundation, Southern Humanities Review, Fusion News, Best American Poetry Blog, and more.
Undocupoets Fellowship Overview
The Undocupoets are interested in addressing the next barrier against undocumented poets: submission fees. Submission fees can range from $20-$35 per first book contest (where there is no guarantee of acceptance for publication), and many journals now charge reading fees. For undocumented poets who are also facing employment discrimination and often poverty, these fees, however small, can be extremely difficult to pay.
The inaugural Undocupoets Fellowship, in partnership with Amazon Literary Partnership and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, will grant FIVE $200 fellowships, with no strings attached, to undocumented or previously undocumented poets to help defray the cost of poetry-related submission fees.
Submissions are currently closed. Our first recipients will be notified in the coming weeks.
Support the Undocupoets Fellowship
To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation to specifically support the Undocupoet Fellowship and literary scholarship, click here to visit our online donation page. You can also contribute by sending a check made payable to:
Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation
PO Box 26147
Little Rock, AR 72221
If you donate by check, please put “Undocupoets” in the memo line.
The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation. Contributions for the purposes of the Undocupoets are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.