Announcing the 2019-2020 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows

Since 2013, through the support of The Jerome Foundation, The Poetry Project has been connecting emerging poets with mentors for a unique fellowship program including intensive one-on-one guidance, publication and performance opportunities, and a $3,000 award. In that time, we’ve been delighted to witness the culmination of so many powerful and important projects, and to hear from past fellows and mentors about ongoing collaboration.

It’s our absolute pleasure now to introduce you to our sixth cohort of Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows:
Cindy Tran will be working with hattie gossett
S*an D. Henry-Smith will be working with Fred Moten
Jimena Lucero will be working with Trace Peterson

We are humbled by the vision of both the fellows and the mentors, and can’t wait to follow what comes of their work. We also want to share how especially difficult it was to select just three fellows this year. We received more than 150 applications — a record for the program — and were thrilled with the ambition, originality, and urgency of the work. This year’s mentors received access to all applications, with a pool of semi-finalists identified by Poetry Project staff. In addition to selecting the aforementioned fellows, the mentors identified eight finalists: Chase Berggruneffie bowenAmrita ChakrabortyWo Chan, Valentine Conaty, Adjua Gargi Nzinga GreavesOmotara JamesNora Treatbaby, and Meagan Gabrielle Washington.

You can read more about each of the fellows and mentors below. And be sure to look for their names in a Monday or Friday Night Reading in the year ahead

Cindy Tran

Cindy Tran co-hosts the East Village Poetry Salon. A recipient of fellowships from Poets House, The Loft Literary Center, and Brooklyn Poets, her work appears in AAWW’s The MarginsNice Cage Magazine, and Copper Nickel, which gave her an Editor’s Prize. Find her online at

hattie gossett

hattie gossett poet & spoken word artist hattie gossett is the author of 2 poetry collections: “presenting sister noblues” (firebrand books 1989) and “the immigrant suite: hey xenophobe! who you calling a foreigner?” (7 stories press 2007).

as a solo spoken word artist or with her band mz hattie performs at arts festivals, colleges, museums, bars and community centers. she earned her m.f.a. from the the music theater writing program at n.y.u. where she was awarded a yip harburg fellowship.

Photo: Danny Sadiel Peña

S*an D. Henry-Smith

S*an D. Henry-Smith is an artist and writer, primarily working with poetry and photography. They received their BA in Studio Art from Hamilton College, and have been awarded fellowships and grants from Triple Canopy, Lotos Foundation, and Antenna. Their words and images have appeared in Apogee JournalFACTThe FeltThe New York Times, and elsewhere. S*an cooks and writes collaboratively with Imani Elizabeth Jackson on MouthFeel; their poetry-cookbook Consider the Tongue is forthcoming this fall.

Fred Moten

Fred Moten lives in New York and teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. His latest work is consent not to be a single being (Duke University Press, 2017, 2018).

Jimena Lucero

Jimena Lucero is a poet, artist, and actor from Queens. She was a Pink Door fellow and you can find her writing in EOAGH,, and more. She is currently working on her first poetry manuscript.

Trace Peterson

Trace Peterson is a trans woman poet critic. She is the author of two books of poetry, including Since I Moved In (new & revised) (Chax Press, 2019). She is also Founding Editor / Publisher of EOAGH which has won 2 Lambda Literary Awards, including the first Lammy in Transgender Poetry. She co-edited the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), and also co-edited Arrive on Wave: Collected Poems of Gil Ott (Chax Press). Her work has recently appeared in Readings in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology (Dia Art Foundation/Yale University Press), From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice (ON Contemporary Practice), Best American Experimental Writing 2016 (Wesleyan University Press), TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and at the Academy of American Poets ( She recently taught Transgender Cultural Production at Yale University and was Guest Faculty at the Naropa Summer Writing Program. She currently teaches at Hunter College, where she has taught an innovative course in Trans and Nonbinary Poetry since 2015.