Poet In Residence


Poet in Residence Fellowship 2023/2024

Civil Rights Corps is excited to announce the 2023-2024 Poet in Residence Fellowship program. Each year, a groundbreaking poet whose work urgently confronts the subject matter of our civil rights work will be chosen as the Civil Rights Corps Poet in Residence.

Civil Rights Corps is an innovative non-profit civil rights law organization based in Washington, D.C. our groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work has resulted in systemic reforms to legal systems across the country. Our staff has led the way in bringing pioneering challenges to the rise of modern American debtors’ prisons and the American money bail system. We are passionate and dedicated advocates who seek to fight inequality and protect the rights of the most underrepresented, impoverished, and marginalized members of our society.


About the Poet in Residence Fellowship Program

Our criminal system’s ability to accomplish mass human, depends on ignoring and erasing the stories of the human beings on whom we inflict unspeakable suffering. The Poet in Residence will be given a monetary stipend of $7,500 to assist in producing urgent and vivid works that communicate the humanity of our clients and others in their position. That the works should shed light on the toll that the unjust practices in the criminal system takes on the bodies and minds of the people directly impacted by it and on our communities more broadly.

The language used in police reports, court arguments, and prison budgets enables large-scale indifference; poetry makes us understand, makes us care, and makes us act.


  • The Poet in Residence will be expected to produce twenty pages of new works of poetry dealing specifically with the subject matter of Civil Rights Corps’ work, particularly the organization’s work trying to re-sensitize our legal system and culture to the brutality of human caging and to the systemic and entrenched injustices in the U.S. criminal legal system.
  • The Poet in Residence will be expected to give two public readings over the course of the 12-month fellowship in which the Poet will describe the Poet’s work and its connection to Civil Rights Corps and participate in discussion with Civil Rights Corps staff concerning the organization’s work. The readings may occur virtually pending continued COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
  • The Poet’s work will be featured on the Civil Rights Corps’ website.


Qualifications and Requirements to Apply

  • The residence is open to poets who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system through personal experience or the experience of loved ones.
  • Priority will be given to poets who have demonstrated engagement with racial and economic injustice in the U.S. criminal system.
  • Poets who wish to apply must draft a statement of interest that is no more than 1 single spaced page in length and submit no more than ten pages of poetry to Quinita Ennis: jobs@civilrightscorps.org.
  • Deadline to submit applications is September 22, 2023.