Congratulations

New York, NY (June 3, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce its 2021 Poets Laureate Fellows. These 23 individuals serve as Poets Laureate of states and cities across the U. S. and will be leading public poetry programs in their respective communities in the year ahead. The Fellows will each receive $50,000 (or $25,000 each in the case of the shared Poet Laureate position in Montana) for a combined total of $1.1 million. In addition, the Academy will provide $100,000+ total to 14 local 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that have agreed to support the Fellows’ proposed projects.  Read More

“Poetry advances the quality of life of citizenry when organized as a precious power tool. There is poetry in a painting and in the curl of sculpture. Song is poetry. Dance is poetry and then, there is the math of poetry:  PL=1(SB) to the power of FLINT.”

—Semaj Brown

Semaj Brown was named Flint’s First Poet Laureate September of 2019. The Poetry Pod Project (P3) is Ms. Brown’s interdisciplinary, intergenerational literacy civic initiative. P3 utilizes poetry to enhance literacy. This fun educational process is infused with games while incorporating the arts and the sciences.  

85% of juveniles who collide with the court system are functionally illiterate. 67%, of adult prison inmates cannot read. Poor children hear 30 million fewer words than their wealthier peers by the age of 5. In other words, the relationship is direct between not knowing how to read, and being incarcerated. FACT: Literate people live longer. Literate communities are heathier, and the literate are less likely to be impoverished. The 2018 3rd grade literacy scores dropped 75% to 11% literacy when compared to five years before the onset of the Flint water Crisis.

On September 27th at the Flint Public Library, during the close of my Bleeding Fire! poetry reading, a proclamation from Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver, presented by Dr. Pamela Pugh, Director of Health Services was delivered. I received the venerable honor of being appointed, Flint City Area’s First Poet Laureate. Amid the glow and excitement, an elder, a woman who was a retired teacher took my hand. She spoke, “You know, you’re a baad sister, powerful! You know, we could turn this thing around. We could turn this WHOLE thing around.” It was a surreal moment, watching her arm wave as if she was directing energy. Something shifted. She looked beyond. Her eyes were like marbles swirling history forward.

Poetry Pod Project (P3)

“Poetry advances the quality of life of citizenry when organized as a precious power tool. There is poetry in a painting and in the curl of sculpture. Song is poetry. Dance is poetry and then, there is the math of poetry:  PL=1(SB) to the power of FLINT.” —Semaj Brown

Poet Laureate Report

The Poet Laureate Report | The Poet Laureate Report is a Biannual Newsletter published by Semaj Brown, Flint, Michigan’s First Poet Laureate. The prestigious Academy of American Poets, New York, New York, the preeminent 80-year literary poetry institution has named Semaj among its 23 fellows that will lead public poetry programs in their respective communities throughout the United States, in the following year.

NPR Affiliate Michigan Radio – Stateside, Host April Behr

Posted March 16, 2020

Semaj Brown as a Mentor

Mama Semaj works with our Youth. “They are Everything!” -Semaj Brown

Children’s Poetry Show | Dreaming is imagining is Happening

“I am so excited to perform for the children! I’m thrilled that we’re broadcasting the performance virtually, so that ALL children can participate—both the young and the old,” said Semaj Brown.

Inspiration from the Poet Laureate’s Bookshelf

Semaj Brown reads selected Literary works from Past and Present

Poetry Confessions: Tea Time with the Poet Laureate | The Flint Courier News

“Semaj Brown is an ingenious poet who has been a tremendous asset to the Flint Courier News. Our readers have shown a huge interest in reading her work, both on website, and on our social media pages. Her positive pieces such as “My Mother My Story” and “Ode to Black Men” inspire our readers to reflect on their own lives, and surroundings … I believe that it is partially because of Brown’s involvement with the Courier, we continue to receive communications from readers who say they will continue to advocate for the publication, and what it stands for…” | Tanya Terry – Editor, The Flint Courier News

Poet Laureate Letter

Semaj Brown was named Flint’s First Poet Laureate September of 2019. The Poetry Pod Project (P3) is Ms. Brown’s interdisciplinary, intergenerational literacy civic initiative. P3 utilizes poetry to enhance literacy. This fun educational process is infused with games while incorporating the arts and the sciences.

Email

1plflint@semajbrown.com