Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Wins Prestigious National Fellowship

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By Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture

The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture is pleased to announce that Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emma Trelles is one of 22 poets in the United States to be recognized by the Academy of American Poets with a prestigious Poet Laureate Fellowship.

Trelles is the ninth Poet Laureate from Santa Barbara, Calif., and the first Latino poet to be named to the position. Trelles is the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and finalist for Foreword/Indies Poetry Book of the Year. She teaches creative writing at Santa Barbara City College, where she also coordinates the Writing Center.

Emma Trelles

Trelles shared, “I am so grateful and honored to receive a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, an organization deeply committed to poetry-centered programs across the country and to the many poets who bring them to life. The scholarship is a true testament to their faith in our creative and community work.

As a Poet Laureate Fellow, Trelles will receive a $50,000 stipend to support her public work and craft. Trelles noted the broad impact of the stipend: “For Santa Barbara, this means we’ll see more of the Mission Poetry series, with ongoing semi-annual readings featuring various poets from near and far, and in addition new classes and public poetry walks in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library.It also supports a second year of Gunpowder Press’ Alta California Chapbook Award, open to all Latinx poets living in California and published in bilingual editions in the spring. For me personally, the scholarship also means support and belief in my own poems and writing practice. It’s incredibly empowering,” she said.

Through its Poet Laureate Scholarship program, the Academy has become the nation’s largest financial supporter of poets, awarding a total of $4.35 million in scholarships to 81 Poet Laureates since 2019.


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