Hamline News

MFA Alum Chasity Gunn Awarded Fellowship

The Academy of American Poets announced its 2021 Poets Laureate Fellows and Chasity Gunn, a Hamline MFA alumna, was among them. 

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.

Chasity Gunn is a native of northwest Alabama and is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Elgin, Illinois. She is the author of How to Create a World (Chasity Gunn, 2018) and her spoken word has been featured in the Bedlam Theatre’s 10X10 Fest and the Elgin Fringe Festival. She is a professor of English at Elgin Community College. Gunn will launch Sanctuary Poets, a six-week-long poetry seminar that’s inspired by June Jordan’s “Poetry for the People.” Sanctuary Poets seeks to model the inclusive nature of a sanctuary, where people of various backgrounds gather in a central place each week to create a sense of community. The seminar will conclude with a poetry reading featuring visual art, a chapbook, and an audiobook of the poets reading their work. Gunn will launch Sanctuary Poets in collaboration with Atrocious Poets and Hamilton Wings.