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NEA/ARPA grant supports organization for disabled poets co-founded by NMSU professor


As part of the American Rescue Plan, Zoeglossia, “a community for poets with disabilities” that was co-founded by a New Mexico State University professor, will receive a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“It’s the first time that part of emergency funding for Covid is providing grants to be distributed to arts organizations,” said Zoeglossia co-founder Connie Voisine, who is a published poet and an English professor in the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences. “It’s an acknowledgement that the arts are an important part of our economy.”

The grant is part of a $57.7 million effort to help the U.S. arts and cultural sector recover from the impact of the global pandemic, NMSU said in a news release. Zoeglossia is among 567 local arts organizations receiving grants.

 Zoeglossia was founded by Voisine and fellow poets Jennifer Bartlett and Sheila Black “as an emerging literary organization that dedicates itself to providing inclusive space for poets who identify as disabled through an annual literary retreat,” the news release said.

The third annual Zoeglossia Retreat, hosted virtually through a partnership with NMSU, will be held May 11-15.

 “If you're a writer over the age of 21 who identifies as disabled, and especially if you are someone from historically underrepresented communities, please apply,” Voisine said. “We would really love to see your work.”

The NEA grant will provide support to help the organization develop structure and staff to continue its work to promote the work of Zoeglossia Fellows, develop a social media strategy that effectively promotes disabled voices in cultural spaces and develop video content or a "Zoeglossia Channel" that provides an accessible video platform for poets and writers with disabilities, NMSU said.

Voisine is the author of “The Bower and “And God Created Women.” Her work has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and has won the Associated Writing Program’s Award in Poetry, according to the Zoeglossa website. She has poems published in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine and elsewhere. Voisine is a former Fulbright Fellow to Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Visit www.zoeglossia.org.