Flint’s first Poet Laureate, Semaj Brown, was just awarded the 2021 Fellowship from The Academy of American Poets.
The fellowship is obviously a big honor for Brown, but the honor also comes with some hefty prize money to help expand public poetry programs right here in Flint. Along with the honor of being named an Academy of American Poets Fellow, Brown will also receive a $50,000 prize to create and lead public poetry programs in Flint.
Semaj Brown is so much more than just a poet though, and the Academy for American Poets did a great job of listing Brown’s many talents.
In addition to being a poet, Brown is a playwright, Thought Leader, university lecturer, and K–12 curriculum builder/facilitator whose work is an amalgam of the arts and sciences.
Brown will use the prize to continue her work on her outreach program called the Poetry Pod Project (P3). The project will work to integrate music, visual art, performance art, and games to increase the appreciation of poetry. Brown has been working in Flint and the surrounding community to bring the beauty, art, style, and overall appreciation for poetry to everyone. Check out the video below where Brown talks about P3.
P3 works in conjunction with The Flint Zeta Foundation to develop a year of learning opportunities. The year long seminar is called Poetry Letters: Poetry as a 2nd Language. The year long workshop is broken into three different workshops titles Poetry Voices, Poetry Painting, and Poetry Pen Pals.
I’ve never been into poetry growing up, but mainly because it’s always felt so far above me. Listening to Semaj Brown talk about poetry, and the different ways that it can be delivered is inspiring me to try and get into it again. Brown’s passion that everyone can be a part of the poetry world is inspiring.