Sandra Cisneros Elizabeth Acevedo
Photos: Electric Literature; Instagram/acevedowrites
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Poetry Foundation Honors Poets Sandra Cisneros and Elizabeth Acevedo

Dominican American writer Elizabeth Acevedo made history when she won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for her debut The Poet X as the first woman of color to win the prize in its 83-year history. The British literary award goes to an outstanding English-language book for children or young adults and now she’s once again being recognized for her work for young readers this time by the Poetry Foundation as the 2022-2024 Young People’s Poet Laureate. Acevedo will receive $25,000 in recognition of her poetry for children and young adults. And similar to other Poet Laureate positions, including Chicana poet and U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, she will be tasked with promoting poetry to “children and their families, teachers, and librarians throughout their two-year tenure,” according to their press release. The recognition is a part of this year’s Pegasus Awards, a collection of literary prizes given out by the Poetry Foundation including the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Acevedo, known for her young adult books, The Poet X and Clap When You Land, posted on Instagram about the news: Good bruhs, baddies, and beloveds: I’ve just been named by the Poetry Foundation as the Young People’s Poet Laureate for 2022-2024. I am too amped to promote poetry to children and their families, and to devote myself to the vision I have of ensuring poetry reaches young people who often aren’t exposed to poetics, especially those outside of the mainland U.S.”  Acevedo released a children’s book, Inheritance: A Visual Poem, earlier this year inspired by her famous poem, “Hair“, an empowering ode to Black hair.

The Poetry Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the love of poetry across the world and honoring poets from marginalized communities. The organization also honored Mexican American poet Sandra Cisneros as one of 11 winners of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, 10 more than usual in honor of The Poetry Foundation’s magazine 110th anniversary. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is an incredibly prestigious award usually awarded to one living U.S. poet and it comes with a $100,000 prize, one of the largest monetary prizes in the country.

Writer and Poet Cisneros published The House on Mango Street in 1983 and it has since been translated into 25 languages and remains a staple on scholarly reading lists.  Chicano poet Juan Felipe Herrera, who has served as both the Poet Laureate of the United States and California, was also honored. He is the author of more than 30 books including the recent poetry collection, Every Day We Get More Illegal.

Hurray to all! #RuthLillyPoetryPrize 🌟,” Cisneros said in an Instagram post announcing the news. 

It’s wonderful to see Latina poets being recognized and uplifted on the national stage for their hard work, dedication to their communities, love for their cultures, and passion for their words. We congratulate this year’s winners and hope that even more Latinx poets will be celebrated by The Poetry Foundation in the future.

The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in Chicago in October.