North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green Receives National Fellowship



North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green has been named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets.


Green, who was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper last June, is one of 13 state or local Poet Laurates nationwide to be honored.


“Jaki’s expressive poetry and her service as Poet Laureate inspire North Carolinians to share their own unique stories,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This new fellowship recognizes Jaki’s work and will help expand her efforts to encourage young poets and community leaders across our state.” 


Green will receive a $75,000 award in recognition of her literary merit and to support her project “Literary Change Makers,” which will support youth poets who are engaged artistically in civic and community activism, social justice, and youth leadership in all 100 N.C. counties.


“I’m extremely honored and happy for the esteemed recognition of my craft and ongoing commitment to building stronger communities through the literary arts,” Green said. “I am grateful for the generosity of the Academy of American Poets. This fellowship will strengthen my capacity to continue to execute and expand my Poet Laureate participation throughout North Carolina.”


“This award acknowledges Jaki Shelton Green’s commitment to using poetry as a platform for building bridges across race, age, gender, and identity,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Her devotion to supporting youth poets is undoubtedly one of her strengths as our state’s Poet Laureate.”


The award was possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and aligns with Academy’s national poetry programming theme of Poetry & Democracy offered by the Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 organizations working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.


“Green is a poet whose work exemplifies how poetry can spark conversation and can help us learn about one another’s lives and unique experiences, which promotes greater understanding,” said Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. “We’re honored to help underwrite Green and the other Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows, all of whom are exceptional leaders.”


Green is the author of eight collections, most recently I Want to Undie You (Jacar Press, 2017). She currently teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.  


The full list of fellows to receive the first ever Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow awards of $50,000 to $100,000 each include:


  • Grace Cavalieri, Poet Laureate of Maryland
  • Molly Fisk, Poet Laureate of Nevada County, California
  • Jaki Shelton Green, Poet Laureate of North Carolina
  • Fred L. Joiner, Poet Laureate of Carrboro, North Carolina
  • Robin Coste Lewis, Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, California
  • Claudia Castro Luna, Poet Laureate of Washington State
  • Ed Madden, Poet Laureate of Columbia, South Carolina
  • Adrian Matejka, Poet Laureate of Indiana
  • Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Poet Laureate of Oklahoma
  • Paisley Rekdal, Poet Laureate of Utah
  • Raquel Salas Rivera, Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, California,
  • TC Tolbert, Poet Laureate of Tucson, Arizona.


For additional information about the Academy of American Poets and the Poets Laureate Fellowships, visit:


For more information about Jaki Shelton Green, visit:


About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education.




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