The Lannan Fellows Program is at the core of Folger Poetry’s mission to develop new audiences for poetry, foster community among young writers, and bridge the gaps between town and gown by bringing students and professors together with an increasingly diverse cross-section of the Washington, DC community.
The Lannan Fellows are a select group of undergraduate student writers chosen by their faculty for their promise and commitment to the art of poetry. These students come from such Washington, DC-area colleges and universities as American University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and the University of Maryland, along with WritersCorps (a national program that brings writers and writing opportunities into the lives of DC public school middle school children).
In addition to receiving free tickets to all of the readings on the Folger Poetry season, the Lannan Fellows attend four events designed just for them. These programs begin with a seminar in which students engage in lively discussion with the poet who’ll be reading that evening. Seminars may be topically driven, such as 2000 O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize winner David St. John’s post-September 11th exploration of trauma in Eastern European poetry, or develop into free-flowing question and answer sessions. Conversations continue over supper in the Folger’s Board Room, where students have the chance to talk intimately with the poet and meet their peers from other universities.
Lannan Fellows receive free copies of the seminar poets’ books, thanks to generous support from their publishers and Barnes & Noble.