The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation. Its mission is defined as follows:
The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation will work to organize, support, and promote literary events, readings, conferences, and workshops; support small presses; support small press authors; preserve small press publications of historical value; and support literary projects that give people permission to be, with an emphasis on (but not exclusive to) LGBTQ-oriented projects.
The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation was proud to host the Undocupoets Fellowship from its inception through September 24, 2021, when administration of the program transferred Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture in advance of SRPF ceasing operations at year end (Important note of clarification: Just the private foundation, SRPF, is ceasing operations, not the publishing company Sibling Rivalry Press, LLC, which will continue).
The mission of Undocupoets is to promote the work of undocumented poets and raise consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community. We believe in supporting all poets, regardless of immigration status.
THE UNDOCUPOETS FELLOWSHIP
Overview: The Undocupoets Fellowship annually grants two $500 fellowships, with no strings attached, to poets who are currently or who were formerly undocumented in the United States to help defray the cost of poetry-related submission fees. Through our continued partnership with Catapult, 2021 Fellows will also receive a scholarship for a six-week workshop (or its equivalent value toward other Catapult classes).
At least one of the two fellowships awarded will be given to LGBTQ undocumented or previously undocumented poets per an agreement with Sibling Rivalry Press. Please indicate on your cover letter if you identify as LGBTQ.
While no single fellowship recipient will receive more than $500 on any given year, fellowships can be awarded to the same individual for multiple years.
The Undocupoets Campaign is organized by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Janine Joseph, and Esther Lin.
In 2015, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Javier Zamora, and Christopher Soto founded the Undocupoets Campaign to protest the discriminatory behavior of many first-book publishing contests in poetry, which prohibited undocumented poets from applying. On the Apogee journal website, the Undocupoets published an open petition asking ten highly visible and renowned first-book poetry contests to reconsider and update the language stating U.S. citizenship as a requirement for submission or publication. The campaign was successful and, with the help of the Undocupoets, the guidelines at all ten contests were altered (to varying degrees) to reflect more inclusive publishing. For their work, the Campaign’s founders were awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, established by Poets & Writers.
Following the petition, the Undocupoets released several interviews and news articles, as well as hosted events and published a literary magazine feature to celebrate the work of undocumented poets. Some of the organizations with whom the Undocupoets have also collaborated include: Asian American Writers Workshop, Best American Poetry Blog, Canto Mundo, Fusion News, Lambda Literary Foundation, Southern Humanities Review, Split This Rock, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, The New Republic, and more.
The annual Undocupoets Fellowship, in partnership with the Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, is funded by grants from the Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP) Poetry Fund, the Literary Arts Emergency Fund, and through private donations.
OUR 2021 FELLOWS
Tobi Kassim was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and has lived in the United States since 2003. He has been a DACA recipient since 2014 and currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Volta, The Brooklyn Review, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Zocalo Public Square, and elsewhere. He received a Stadler Center’s Undergraduate Fellowship and won the Sean T. Lannan Poetry Prize from Yale.
Oswaldo Vargas is a former farmworker and graduate from the University of California— Davis, where he studied history, human rights and Jewish studies. Anthology features include: Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration, Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, and Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century. His work can also be seen in The Louisville Review, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Huizache, The Acentos Review, Raspa Magazine, Glass Poetry Press, West Trade Review, Dovecote Magazine, Midway Journal, Somos en Escrito, Pine Hills Review, Bozalta, and the Green Mountains Review tribute issue to former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. He lives and dreams in Sacramento, California.
OUR 2020 FELLOWS
Wo Chan is a poet and drag performer. Their chaplet Order the World, Mom was published by Belladonna* in 2016. Wo’s poems appear in POETRY, Mass Review, No Tokens, The Margins, and are further anthologized in Vinegar & Char (University of Georgia Press), Go Home! (Feminist Press), and Bettering American Poetry (Bettering Books). As a member of the Brooklyn-based drag/burlesque collective Switch N' Play, Wo has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, and New York Live Arts. Wo was born in Macau, China, and currently lives in New York. You can find them online @theillustriouspearl (IG) or their website wo.bingo. (Photo credit: Mettie Ostrowski)
In the interest of protecting the identity and status of our second 2020 Undocupoets Fellow, we will not announce their name. This is a statement they have written in lieu of a biography:
"As a poet of African descent, I understand what it means to belong to two places at once. But I also understand what it means to be deserted by one as a result of the distance created by involuntary migration and displaced by one because of draconian laws. My sense of identity flows through my verse: through it I am coping, overcoming, surviving, and reaching joy. More than anything, poetry is an act of service for self-actualization and freedom."
OUR 2019 FELLOWS
laurel c. is a poet, student organizer, and teaching artist from Taiwan. A recipient of fellowships from Pink Door and Kundiman, they are a 2018 Brave New Voices Future Corps Member, a Youth Speaks Emerging Poet Mentor, and a member of the 2018–2019 CalSLAM team. Their poems appear in Black Warrior Review, the Shade Journal, Foglifter, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and others. Currently an undergraduate student earning a B.A. in Ethnic Studies, they are dedicated to curating spaces for migrant artists of color and organizing with underserved trans and queer students of color on campus. They believe their revolution begins with listening.
Frankie Concepcion is a writer, educator, and community organizer from the Philippines who has been living in the U.S. for almost a decade. A former high school English teacher, she is the founder of the Boston Immigrant Writer’s Salon, an editor for Winter Tangerine and Boston-based food publication GRLSQUASH; and her fiction, essays, and poetry have been published internationally. Find her work at frankieconcepcion.com.
OUR 2018 FELLOWS
Aline Mello is an editor and writer of poetry and prose. She is an immigrant from Brazil and spends much of her time volunteering with immigrant students. Her work can be found in On She Goes, St. Sucia, Saint Katherine Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her sister and two pups. She thinks we need a big party for all undocumented people, where all the moms can bring tamales and the dads can set up the sound system and the tables, and we can have bolo de cenoura and pão de queijo and horchata and caipirinha, and people can bring all the good dancing music and teach each other how the steps go, and every time someone looks at someone else and says, “Man, it’s rough. We’re so much more than that,” both will nod and know they’re talking about the same thing. Her handle for all things social is @thealinemello.
Jesus I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer based in Austin, Texas. Jesus is originally from Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and is a proud fronteriz@. Jesus was a semifinalist for the Write Bloody 2016 poetry contest and is excited to take the risk of putting work out in the world and creating documents that exist outside the realm of “legal fictions.” As a writer and storyteller, Jesus has presented work at Greetings, From Queer Mountain, The Megaphone Show, The Encyclopedia Show, and The Austin Storytelling Slam. Jesus holds a Master's in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach, where he focused on studying critical race theory, performance ethnography, and qualitative research methods. His research on Latina domestic workers working in Los Angeles earned him the recognition of Dean's Outstanding Graduate Student and was presented at both the National Communication Association and International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Jesus currently teaches social and emotional learning to high school students, focusing primarily on students recently arrived to the U.S. He is also a proud company member of the Vortex Repertory Company, Shrewd Productions, and an executive board member for Teatro Vivo. As an actor, he's been nominated for five B. Iden Payne awards, and is the recipient of the 2016 and 2017 awards for Outstanding Actor in Theatre for Youth. Jesus is continuing work on a poetry manuscript tentatively called (Un)Documents and a solo performance of the same name. Above all, he owes all that he is to his parents, who risked everything and have asked for nothing in return. Muchisimo amor.
OUR 2017 FELLOWS
Jan-Henry Gray was born in the Philippines, grew up in California, and was a chef in San Francisco for 12 years. He received his MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago where he was an editor of the Columbia Poetry Review. A zrecipient of a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award, Jan's work is published in The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, Puerto del Sol, Southern Humanities Review, Ano Ba Zine, and Assaracus. He is working on his first book.
Esther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. She is a 2017–19 Wallace Stegner Fellow, and was a Poets House Emerging Poet and Queens Council on the Arts fellow in 2015. She was also a participant in the Cave Canem Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Adroit, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, Guernica, Vinyl, and elsewhere.
Anni Liu was born and raised in Xi'an, China and Ohio. She has worked as a church pianist, harvested apples, copyedited mystery novels, and sat cats. She is currently a student and associate instructor in Indiana University's MFA program where she will serve as Indiana Review's poetry editor next academic year. Her work is published or forthcoming in Grist Journal, Monster House Press Quarterly, and Sonora Review.
Yosimar Reyes is a nationally acclaimed poet, educator, performance artist and public speaker. Born in Guerreo, Mexico and raised in Eastside San Jose Reyes explores the themes of migration and sexuality in his work. His first collection of poetry, For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly…, was self-published after a collaboration with the legendary Carlos Santana. He was featured in the Documentary 2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry. Reyes has toured and presented in University campuses all over the United States. He is the co-founder of performance ensemble, La Maricolectiva, a community based performance group of queer undocumented poets. Reyes’ work has been published in various journals and anthologies. Reyes holds a B.A in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is an Arts Fellow at Define American, an organization founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (DefineAmerican.Com). Reyes is currently working on his one-man show with Guerrilla Rep Theater to premier in the near future.
Juan Rodriguez was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He is an undocumented, disabled writer of color residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Utah.
Undocupoets on Commonplace:
Undocupoets on Commonplace: