2018 Poem-a-Day Guest Editors Announced

The Poem-a-Day series will be guest-edited by twelve contemporary poets in 2018, the Academy of American Poets announced on December 12. Each will curate a month of the free daily poetry subscription.

The announcement on Poets.org states that the decision to appoint guest editors aims to broaden the scope of the publication. The new editors will provide more diverse expertise and perspectives.

This statement does not just refer to each poet’s unique aesthetic, however, but to the diversity of the editors themselves. Half of the 2018 Poem-a-Day guest editors are men, half women. Ten of the twelve are people of color. Several were born outside of the U.S., hailing from countries as far as South Korea. Collectively they have won countless awards, received many notable fellowships, and published dozens of books.

To highlight a few, the year will begin under the direction of Iranian-American Kaveh Akbar, whose debut book Calling a Wolf a Wolf (2017) was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017. In April, current U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will take over to guide the publication through National Poetry Month. The final editor of 2018 will be Rigoberto González, a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and author of thirteen books in total between poetry, prose, and bilingual children’s books.

Jennifer Benka, the executive director of the Academy of American Poets, is quoted as saying that all twelve poets “are model literary citizens. In their work, they have been wonderful champions of others, demonstrating a generosity of spirit we admire and appreciate working with.”

A glance at Kaveh Akbar’s Twitter confirms this spirit of literary citizenship—he regularly shares the work of other poets he admires. If one poem a day isn’t enough for you, Akbar is certainly a poet to follow on Twitter for even more recommendations. Also, look how excited he is to be participating:

“In spite of everything” is right—2017 has been a rough year, but reading poetry can be a way of healing. Due to the immediacy of the platform, the Poem-a-Day series often includes poems written in response to current events and contemporary issues. A few notable examples from 2017 include Jane Hirshfield’s resistance-themed poem “Let Them Not Say,” shared on the day of the presidential inauguration, Dana Levin’s poem about gun violence, “Instructions for Stopping,” and Yesenia Montilla’s poem about immigration issues, “Maps.” This trend is sure to continue in 2018 with the diversity of the editors highlighting an even broader range of perspectives and issues.

Poem-a-Day is the only free email subscription service of its kind, sharing formerly unpublished poems by contemporary authors every week day. The service currently has 160,000 subscribers, but through their wider platform on Poets.org and social media, each poem reaches approximately 460,000 readers. They also highlight classic poems on the weekend. You can sign up to receive the emails on their website, where you can also find the archive of all their daily poems dating back to 2006.

Want to start reading more poetry in 2018? Trying to diversify the poets you read? Just need a little more motivation to get out of bed every morning? The list of 2018 Poem-a-Day guest editors promises that this will be a good year to get into contemporary poetry.

Learn about more diverse modern poets here.

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