The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation is proud to host the Undocupoets Fellowship, sponsored by Amazon Literary Partnership.
ANNOUNCING OUR FIRST FELLOWS: In our continued mission to promote the work of undocumented poets and raise consciousness about the barriers that are faced in the literary community, it is our pleasure to announce the inaugural winners of the Undocupoets fellowship. We were very impressed by the caliber of work submitted.
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 Reyes. Yosimar 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.
In partnership with Amazon Literary Partnership and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation, each winner will receive an honorarium to help defray the cost of poetry submission fees. Additionally, in collaboration with Canto Mundo and Columbia University, each fellow will have broadsides of their poems printed. We send our great appreciation for everyone who submitted and encourage poets to submit again next year.
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
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. Watch this space for more information on future submission dates.
Support the Undocupoets Fellowship and the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 870-723-6008. Contributions to support the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.