history of the poetry coalition
The Poetry Coalition traces its roots back to the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in 2015. There, the Poetry Foundation, Academy of American Poets, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center invited leaders from poetry organizations to an informal lunch, provided by the Poetry Foundation. During the lunch, leaders expressed an interest in working more closely together and agreed that it would be useful to have a formal convening outside of AWP. The Academy of American Poets then secured support for such a convening in November 2015 from the Lannan Foundation, planning and organizing the weekend with assistance from the University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, which have worked closely with the Academy of American Poets on building this initiative from its inception. At the 2015 convening the group established collective goals and values and began talking about programming on a shared theme. Poets House generously hosted a convening in November 2016 after which the group publicly launched itself as the Poetry Coalition. The Academy of American Poets secured a grant in 2017 from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to support the Poetry Coalition’s programming that March, which addressed migration. It then secured a major grant from the Ford Foundation for Poetry Coalition work in 2017 and 2018, and a commitment from the Poetry Foundation to host a convening in 2019. In November 2017, the Poetry Coalition met for its third convening at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson. The Academy of American Poets serves as the administrative and fiscal lead for the Poetry Coalition, managing fundraising, financial support, grant reporting, communication, meeting planning and facilitation, press and promotion, among other tasks. The University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University assist with this work.