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Creative Writing's Airea D. Matthews Receives Funds for Public Poetry Programs

August 4, 2022
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Airea D. Matthews (Photo Credit: Brooke Sientinsons)

In January 2022, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Airea D. Matthews, co-director of Bryn Mawr's Creative Writing Program, was named Philadelphia's Poet Laureate for 2022-2023.

This month, the Academy of American Poets announced that they will be awarding a combined $1.1 million to 22 of its 2022-2023 Poet Laureate Fellows, including Matthews, for their public poetry programs.

“These 22 individuals, each of whom will receive $50,000, have been named poets laureate of states, cities, and counties, and have made positive contributions to their communities in these roles and beyond,” reads the Academy’s press release.

Matthews will use the funding to support two projects—establishing an equity-based Philadelphia speaker’s bureau that will match Philadelphia-area writers with potential reading opportunities and “Re/Vision.”

Described in the release and a WHYY announcement of the award, “Re/Vision” will display excerpts of poetry from writers with ties to areas in Philadelphia impacted by violence using billboards and digital projection. The project, set to begin in December 2022, is a collaboration of three Philadelphia entities: Lamar Advertising, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Contemporary. New excerpts will be showcased monthly.

“The goal for these engagements with poetry is to offer moments of contemplation and to increase poetry readership among a new generation,” states the press release.

Matthews will be teaching the course Creative Nonfiction this fall.