Emerge – Surface – Be  was initiated as a new program in 2013. It formalizes the distinct yet unspoken pedagogical aspect of The Poetry Project’s programs while providing a unique opportunity to support, develop and present emerging NYC-based poets of promise. Each year, three emerging poets will be selected by and paired with their own poet mentors and, over the course of nine months, be given the opportunity to develop their craft and complete a project. Ideal Fellows will have a project they are working on or want to embark upon, and feel that they would benefit from guidance. Each Fellow will receive an award of $2,500.

In addition to working one-on-one with their mentors, Fellows will have access to all Poetry Project events (free workshops, free readings, free publications) and be included in the Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading. Fellows will also read within The Poetry Project’s high profile Monday Night Reading Series as a culminating event with introductions made by their mentors. Fellows will be invited to blog about their experiences as well as post photos and videos on The Poetry Project website and attend Fellows only gatherings so they may get to know and appreciate one another and their work.

Applicants that have achieved some measure of local, regional or national professional recognition will be judged favorably, as will applicants who have been published or had work presented in recognized publications and venues providing they have published no more than one full length perfect bound book and no more than three chap books (not including self-published work in chap book form). The most important criterion is that an applicant’s work shows potential. Therefore, demonstration of a high level of skill and unique stylistic vision will be considered in the decision making process.

The Poetry Project embraces diversity in the broadest sense of the word. This principle is reflected in the choice of mentor poets and will be reflected in the selection of Fellows.

Emerge – Surface – Be is supported with funds from the Jerome Foundation.

Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2019-20

  • Cindy Tran is working with hattie gossett
  • S*an D. Henry-Smith is working with Fred Moten
  • Jimena Lucero is working with Trace Peterson

Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2018-19

  • Kay Gabriel is working with Rachel Levitsky
  • Francisco Márquez is working with Douglas A. Martin
  • Andriniki Mattis is working with Pamela Sneed

Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2016-17

  • Jayson P. Smith is working with John Godfrey
  • Sasha Smith is working with Marcella Durand
  • Nicole Shanté White is working with r. erica doyle


Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2015-16

  • Nicole Sealey is working with Lee Ann Brown
  • Edgar Ulloa is working with Tracie Morris
  • t’ai freedom ford is working with Tan Lin


Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2014-15

  • Miriam Atkin worked with David Henderson
  • Maxe Crandall worked with Mónica de la Torre
  • Morgan Vo worked with Brenda Coultas


Emerge-Surface-Be Fellows 2013-14

  • Krystal Languell worked with Anselm Berrigan
  • Rangi McNeil worked with Edwin Torres
  • Guillermo Filice Castro worked with Patricia Spears Jones