Vermont Partnership For Fairness and Diversity and African American Heritage Trail Create Opportunities For Poets Of Color

CONTACT: Shanta Lee Gander, Director of Outreach & Publicity, (802) 275-8152,

Mount Island is excited to announce that the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity (VPFD) and Vermont African American Heritage Trail—an initiative of the VPFD— have donated a total of $150 toward the Lucy Terry Prince prize. Celebrated poet Major Jackson, who lives and teaches in Vermont, will serve as judge for the inaugural Lucy Terry Prince Prize. Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. The donation will cover the $10 entry fee of 15 poets of color seeking to submit their work for consideration.

Through its statewide initiatives, the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity led by executive director Curtiss Reed Jr. provides expert training and coaching on inclusion, bias, and equity for a range of organizations, institutions, state agencies, and municipalities. Additionally, the Vermont African American Heritage has played a key role in illuminating Vermont’s African American history, a history that has often been overlooked.

One of the prominent key figures in the realm of African American history, as some of you may already be familiar with through the Brattleboro Words Project, is Lucy Terry Prince. Lucy was a free, landowning, African American woman who is considered the first known African American poet in the U.S. The homestead that Abijah and Lucy Terry Prince shared is right here in Windham County, Vermont.

In December, Mount Island announced a prize dedicated to celebrating the life of Lucy Terry and has recently extended the deadline to March 31. Mount Island, a literary magazine and small press dedicated to creating space for rural LGBTQ+ and POC voices, and to shifting dominant narratives about rural America.

Mount Island appreciates the contribution of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity (VPFD) and Vermont African American Heritage Trail who supporting this work by making it possible for 15 poets of color to submit their work with the waved submission fee. These spots are available on a first-come-first-serve basis through the Mount Island website. If you, or anyone you know is interested, please visit to submit your best work (up to 3 poems).

We look forward to hearing from you and good luck!

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