Poetry and the Senses Fellowship Information

what did i know about waters rushing back
what did i know about drowning
or being drowned
-–Lucille Clifton

Poetry Fellowship applications for the 2023 year are closed for Berkeley and Hawaiʻi!

Read more about our new fellows here.

Subscribe to our newsletter in the sidebar to hear about upcoming opportunities at the Arts Research Center

The fellowship includes:

$3,000 stipend to support you and your work
conversations with poets across 4+ states
work featured in a group chapbook
and a trip to UC Berkeley for a gathering of all fellows

Thanks to a generous multi-year grant from Engaging the Senses Foundation, the Arts Research Center (ARC) is hosting a fellowship program dedicated to exploring Poetry & the Senses. The program is grounded in the relevance and urgency of lyrical making and storytelling in times of political crisis, and the value of engaging the senses as an act of care, mindfulness, and resistance.

We support poetry in its broadest definition; beyond English and Comparative Literature, our 24 previous poetry fellows have also had connections in African American Studies; Art Practice; Berkeley Center for New Media; Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Global Urban Humanities; Music; Native American Studies; Near Eastern Studies; Rhetoric; Spanish & Portuguese; Theater, Dance and Performance Studies; and Women & Gender Studies departments at UC Berkeley.

ARC Fellows Program

Modeled on the pre-existing ARC Fellows Program, the core of the grant funds uniquely horizontal working groups that bring together faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and community poets into non-hierarchical cohorts. Each group convenes every two weeks during the academic semester to share creative work, research, discussion, and critique, organized around a wide-ranging theme. The fellows receive a stipend to support their own creative practice, interact with visiting writers, and will have their work included in a chapbook.

Spring 2022 Craft Talk: Visiting Writers Matthew Olzmann and Tarfia Faizullah, ARC Poetry fellows D’mani Thomas, Anastasia Le, and Maurya Kerr, Visiting Writer Vievee Francis (and surprise guest A Van Jordan)


Under the theme of Reclamation, the 2023 Spring and Fall terms of Poetry & the Senses will be led by Indigenous writers who draw on Indigenous languages and aesthetics: Craig Santos Perez (Chamoru), Natalie Diaz (Mojave), and Beth Piatote (Nez Perce). Berkeley’s poetry fellows will be joined by a team of writers from University of Hawaiʻi (Perez); Arizona State University (Diaz); and the community-based Nez Perce writing collective, luk’upsíimey (Piatote).

UC Berkeley occupies the unceded territory of the Ohlone peoples, and as a land grant university it benefits materially from the historical and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous land. In 2023, ARC will create dialogues with two other public land-grant universities that also have significant, complex histories with Native territorial dispossession as well as with Indigenous education and outreach. The first is University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in spring 2023, and the second is Arizona State University, in fall 2023. ARC Poetry Fellows from UC Berkeley & the Bay Area will be in conversation with both fellowship cohorts from UH and ASU. In addition, you will collaborate with fellows from the Nez Perce writing group luk’upsíimey, which uses poetry to assist in crucial reclamation and linguistic revitalization. The Nez Perce were exiled and forced to disperse from their homelands in Wallawa, Oregon; language and poetry is one mechanism of their return.

This expansion of our current model will create connections around Indigenous issues across four+ different western states and will explore poetry and the politics of language in a wider framework. The interest is in creating a trans-Indigenous conversation, with juxtapositions that decenter European thought and begin to translate an oceanic-to-desert-to-river-to-forest poetic imaginary.


Applications for ASU will open in spring 2023.

Arizona State University & Tempe Area Community Poet Applicants

Applications for a semester-long poetry fellowship will open in late spring 2023 for the fall 2023 (late Aug to mid-Dec). Please keep reading for other benefits.


In spring, four Berkeley fellows will join four Hawaiʻi-based fellows, three Nez Perce fellows, and two facilitators (Craig Santos Perez and Beth Piatote), to create the Spring 2023 ARC Poetry Fellowship cohort. In fall, the same four Berkeley fellows will join four fellows chosen from the ASU community, an additional 3 Nez Perce fellows, and two facilitators (Natalie Diaz and Beth Piatote) for the Fall 2023 ARC Poetry Fellowship cohort. In addition to bi-weekly working group meetings to share creative work, fellows will also engage with ARC Visiting Writers in live streamed and in-person readings and craft talks, as well as participate in a cohort reading at semester’s end.

As a bonus, all poets will be part of a celebratory in-person gathering, attended by the entire year-long cohort of poets and facilitators from UCB, UH, ASU, and luk’upsíimey writers, hosted at UC Berkeley! Thanks to the generosity of Engaging the Senses Foundation, ARC has secured funding to pay for travel and hotel for all 18 fellows + 3 facilators to join a group gathering and conversation at the year’s end, slated for early February 2024. Finally, all poets will have a selection of poems showcased in a group chapbook, and you’ll have an option to participate in projects your cohort decides on collectively. In exchange, we ask fellows to:

  • actively participate in each working group meeting during the spring (and fall for Berkeley applicants)
  • create a writer’s prompt to be published on the ARC Blog (related to reclamation)
  • create a short individual videotaped reading of one piece they created during the fellowship (to share on ARC website and social media!)


You can enter and look at the form now, gather your information, and answer later. The form allows you to toggle through without answering; when you begin to fill out the form it should save your answers in real time. However once you click “submit”, you cannot change your submission. The questions and all information will be saved on the google form, you will email your CV/resume separately. 

QUESTIONS. Your responses should not exceed 600 words total for 2 questions; we suggest dividing the 600 words equally into two 300 word responses, but you can choose to divide 400/200 etc. We wanted to give people latitude in case one answer demanded more attention from you. But please respect the total for the section. (Note: the google form will not record in italic or bold, please use quotation marks instead of italics if needed.)

1. Please describe how your work (current or past) and/or perspective fits with the theme “reclamation”. (approximately 300 words)

2. How would this opportunity assist you with your work, and why do you want to be a part of the 2023 Poetry & the Senses fellow cohort? (approximately 300 words)

– Write answers to the questions in a word doc and copy/paste into the form, so you are happy with the content and also meet the word count (and in case of tech gremlins)
– If you are a visual/digital/music/performance artist in addition to being a writer, or your work exists in a poetic form off the page, there is space to include a URL link in the info section
– For the work sample: you can submit up to 5 poems/prose poems/etc., one poem per page, 7 pgs maximum, saved in one file; it is fine to include images in your writing sample if integral to the work.
– Please save resume and work sample files in doc/docx/pdf format and include your name when titling (examples: Your Name – Work Sample)

**IMPORTANT: After submitting the online portion, email your CV and Work Sample to ARC Associate Director, Laurie Macfee, at: arcpoetry@berkeley.edu. In the subject line, please write “School/Category you are applying in – First Name Last Name” (eg., Berkeley/Undergrad Applicant – Your Name, or Hawai’i/Community Applicant – Your Name). This will help us sort the Berkeley/Bay Area applications separately from the UH applicants. Please copy this information and save, it will also appear at the end of the application.

The theme is reclamation.

Please read the FAQs about the Poetry & the Senses fellowship here.

RECAP: ARC Poetry Fellows will have the opportunity to:

– Meet 2x month (online) in a fellows working group to share creative work & research
– Receive a $3,000/semester stipend to support creative practice
– Participate in an individual online reading
– Participate in a group in-person celebratory gathering at UC Berkeley
– Interact with visiting writers in readings and craft talks
– Publish a writer’s prompt on the ARC Blog (on reclamation)
– Have work showcased in a chapbook
– Participate in any projects the group decides on collectively

Please sign-up for the ARC Newsletter for more information about our upcoming programs.