Pride, Poetry, and Power (Videos)

Poets Jericho Brown, Raquel Salas Rivera, and Natalie Diaz recently joined Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander, staff, and guests for an afternoon of LGBTQ+ pride and poetry in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and in recognition of the ways in which Pride can embody our everyday lives.

“Pride month is a time to celebrate, but it goes without saying that Pride should be a day-to-day mode of being and way of thinking," noted Alexander. "We celebrate the month, but we understand that you can’t isolate these kinds of celebrations. What it means to practice being in community, to move beyond ally-ship to a true standing together, is what we’re trying to determine.”

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Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Writer's Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection is The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019). His poems have appeared in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review,TIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is an associate professor and the director of the creative writing program at Emory University.

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. Diaz's second collection, Postcolonial Love Poem is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2020. She is a Macarthur Foundation Fellow, Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a U.S. Artists Ford Fellowship, and Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. 

Raquel Salas Rivera is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. They are the inaugural recipient of the Ambroggio Prize, for their book x/ex/exis, and the Laureate Fellowship, both from the Academy of American Poets. They have received fellowships and residencies from the Sundance Institute, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the Arizona Poetry Center, and CantoMundo. From 2016-2018, they edited The Wanderer and Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. They are also the author of six chapbooks and five full-length poetry books. Their fourth book, lo terciario/the tertiary, was on the 2018 National Book Award Longlist, was selected by RemezclaEntropyLiterary HubmitúBook Riot, and Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2018, and received the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry. Their fifth book, while they sleep (under the bed is another country), was published by Birds, LLC in 2019. They received their Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Raquel loves and lives for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, and a world free of white supremacy.