The National Endowment for the Arts recently posted the 2016 Fellowship in Poetry guidelines. The deadline is March 9, 2016. The fellowships are $25,000 and recipients will be announced in December for fellowhips beginning in 2017.
Lao American poet Bryan Thao Worra holds the distinction of being the first Lao American writer to hold an NEA Fellowship in Literature, which is offered by the National Endowment of the Arts to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.
He recently posted his breakdown of what poets would need to successfully apply for an NEA Fellowship. The 2009 article “Hard Rhymes” by Britt Asmodt for MNartists.org discusses some of the challenges he’d faced prior to receiving the fellowship, and where his next directions were.
Poets are eligible to apply if, between January 1, 2009, and March 9, 2016, they have published:
- A volume of 48 or more pages of poetry; or
- Twenty or more different poems or pages of poetry in five or more literary journals, anthologies, or publications which regularly include poetry as a portion of their format. Up to 16 poems may be in a single volume of poetry of fewer than 48 pages. This volume, however, may count as only one of the required five places of publication. For online publications, a page of poetry is considered to be twenty lines or less.
Bryan Thao Worra qualified back in 2009 with the publication of his full-length book, On The Other Side Of The Eye. He posted his NEA work sample at Scribd.com for fellow poets as an example.
2016 will mark seven years since he received the NEA Fellowship, and while the number of Lao American writers has been increasing, only a handful of Lao Americans have published poetry between 2009 to the present in a way that would successfully qualify.