In this fourth year of the Emerge – Surface – Be Fellowship, we were thrilled and honored to have approximately 100 applications. The range and depth of these applications illuminated how exciting this moment is for poetry in New York City, and reaffirmed our commitment to supporting its emerging poets. Choosing three fellows and six finalists was an extremely challenging task for our mentors, but they did it! It’s an honor to announce the 2016-2017 Emerge – Surface – Be Fellows!
Jayson P. Smith will be working with John Godfrey, Sasha Smith will be working with Marcella Durand, and Nicole Shanté White will be working with r. erica doyle. The finalists are Desiree Bailey, Marina Blitshteyn, Marwa Helal, Justine el-Khazen, Christopher Soto, and Chloe Zimmerman. Congratulations to everyone!
In addition to receiving a $2,500 award, Fellows will work one-on-one with their mentors, have access to all Poetry Project events (free workshops and readings) and be included in the Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading. Fellows will also read within The Poetry Project’s high profile Monday or Friday Night Reading Series as a culminating event with introductions made by their mentors.
Jayson P. Smith is a freelance writer, editor, & educator. Their poems appear / are forthcoming in publications such as Gulf Coast, Nepantla, Vinyl, & The Offing. Jayson has received support from The Conversation, Millay Colony for the Arts, Callaloo, & Cave Canem. J lives & works in Brooklyn as a Workshop Coordinator for Cave Canem, Creative Director for The Other Black Girl Collective, & founder/curator of NOMAD, a Crown-Heights based performance series.
Nicole Shanté White is definitely the quiet one yo mama warned you about. Currently residing in Brooklyn, this cluster of Midwest accents and Southern hospitality writes, dances, and teaches from a black queer womanist lens. She is a recipient of a Poets House Emerging Poet Fellowship and a Weeksville Summer Arts Fellowship. Her work can be found in Wussy Mag, The Feminist Wire, 92Y, Glitter Mob Mag, Wall Street, and is forthcoming in Yes, Poetry and Word Riot. Nicole Shanté is a contributing staff writer for Sula Collective, a Work/Study Fellow at the Mark Morris Dance Center, and a Writer in Performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. This Brave New Voices alumna has performed at several notable venues, but would rather you be impressed by her functional addiction to Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.
Sasha Smith is a native New Yorker and born/raised in the Bronx where she runs the Bronx Blaqlist, a community organization that hosts and promotes local artistic events, including an Open Mic series located at a moonshine distillery in Port Morris. Sasha studies literature at NYU’s School of Professional Studies: McGhee Division. She is also a graduate of CUNY: Bronx Community College. Prior to publication at NYU’s Literary Journal Dovetail in 2015 & 2016, her work has been published at CUNY’s Bronx Community College’s Literary and Arts Journal Thesis (2013-2015).