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A new fellowship for Black writers at GrubStreet, a Joy Harjo visit to Harvard, and new work at the archives in the Boston Public Library

Poet Joy Harjo will read and discuss her work as part of National Poetry Month celebrations through the Harvard Art Museums.Blue Flower Arts. © Matika Wilbur

Fellowship for Black writers

GrubStreet recently announced a new yearlong Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers, which will be awarded to two “self-identified Black writers interested in teaching classes, participating in events, and working with” GrubStreet’s instructors and staff to deepen the curriculum. Running from September of this year through August 2022, the fellowship offers $20,000, as well as mentorship from members of the GrubStreet community, a space to work at the organization’s new headquarters, 60 hours of free classes, and free access to the annual Muse and the Marketplace conference, among other perks. The fellowship involves a teaching load, as well as participation in a Boston Writers of Color event, and meeting with program heads. Applications are open to writers 18 or older, “who are able to work with both adult and teen audiences, have a passion for expansive pedagogy, curriculum development, and professional growth.” They note that preference will be given to applicants at work on their first book. The application deadline is May 25. For more information and to apply, visit


Celebrating National Poetry Month

“We mark our existence with our creations,” writes poet Joy Harjo, the 23rd poet laureate of the United States, in the introduction to the anthology of Native Nations poetry she edited, “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through” (Norton). “It is poetry that holds the songs of becoming, of change, of dreaming, and it is poetry we turn to when we travel those places of transformation, like birth, coming of age, marriage, accomplishments, and death.” To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Harvard University Native American Program and the Harvard Art Museums are presenting “Native Americans and the National Consciousness,” a virtual reading and discussion with Harjo, a multi-award winning poet (the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, among others) and performer, and member of the Mvskoke Nation. She’ll be joined by Harvard faculty, administrators, and deans including Joseph P. Gone, Elizabeth Solomon, Robin Kelsey, and Philip Deloria. The reading takes place Monday, April 5 at 6 pm. Admission is free but registration is required. Visit for more information and to register.


BPL gets $2.1m for project

The Boston Public Library received $2.1 million in private funding to be aimed at restoring and revitalizing the library’s Founding Research Collection, which includes over half a million volumes, and materials that date across the last 500 years. The funds, from an anonymous donor and the Associates of the Boston Public Library, will go towards cleaning, cataloging, and preserving 400,000 volumes in the collection, giving the public access to this singular trove. Books, maps, atlases, pamphlets, journals, hymn books, products of missionary presses, first editions, and other “rare specimens” will be made accessible to the public for the first time. Much of the collection is catalogued now on physical cards on a system used only by the BPL; new electronic records will be created. The library will also work to de-grime the dirt and dust that’s accumulated over the archive’s history. This preservation project, which will begin later this year, underlines the library’s commitment to giving access to the depth and range of its materials; the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department is in the process of a $16 million renovation, funded by the City of Boston.


Coming out

An Apprenticeship, or the Book of Pleasuresby Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Stefan Tobler (New Directions)

Leonara in the Morning Lightby Michaela Carter (Avid Reader)

The Man Who Lived Undergroundby Richard Wright (Library of America)

Pick of the week

Nancy Brown at RJ Julia Independent Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, recommends “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age” by Annalee Newitz (Norton): “Why are large cities abandoned? Is it gradual? Sudden? Is the grass greener a few miles away? Is there a massive, sudden earthquake or flood or is it the creeping water level of the river next to it? Here is a journey to four places that have their own reason for being lost. The answers have relevance for us as we ask questions of our own cities.”

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Wake, Siren.” She can be reached at