Donation will subsidize entries for poetry contest

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity and the Vermont African American Heritage Trail - an initiative of the Partnership - have donated $150 toward the Lucy Terry Prince Prize.

Celebrated poet Major Jackson, who lives and teaches in Vermont, will serve as judge for the inaugural prize. Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems.

The VPFD donation will cover the $10 entry fee of 15 poets of color seeking to submit their work for consideration.

Through its statewide initiatives, the Partnership, led by executive director Curtiss Reed Jr., provides expert training and coaching on inclusion, bias, and equity for a range of organizations, institutions, state agencies, and municipalities.

Additionally, the Vermont African American Heritage Trail has played a key role in illuminating Vermont's African American history, a history that has often been overlooked.

One key figure in African American history, as some may have learned through the Brattleboro Words Project, is Lucy Terry Prince.

Prince, a free, landowning, African American woman, is considered the first known African American poet. The homestead that she and her husband, Abijah, shared is in Windham County.

In December, Mount Island announced a prize dedicated to celebrating the life of Lucy Terry and recently extended the deadline to March 31. Mount Island is a literary magazine and small press dedicated to creating space for rural LGBTQ and POC voices and to shifting dominant narratives about rural America.

The spots for 15 poets of color to submit their work with the waived submission fee are available on a first-come, first-served basis through the Mount Island website. Visit for more information.

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