Roger Reeves Selects 2023 Starshine and Clay Fellows

Graphic of Kenny Carroll and Edil Hassan side by side. Kenny Carroll is in front of a brick wall tagged with graffiti. He is wearing a black shirt and a necklace. He has dark hair and is looking straight at the camera.Edil Hassan is in front of a dark gradient background. She is wearing a blouse, several charmed necklaces, and a patterned, light-colored hat. She is looking directly into the camera and has dark hair.
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BROOKLYN, New York (April 27, 2023) — Cave Canem and EcoTheo Collective are honored to announce the recipients of the 2023 Starshine and Clay Fellowship, which provides creative and financial support to Black poets. Roger Reeves has selected Kenny Carroll and Edil Hassan as the awardees of this year’s Starshine and Clay Fellowship!

Two recipients will each receive $500 for a featured reading at the 2023 Wonder Festival in Jackson, Wyoming. Fellowship recipients will also receive a one-on-one consultation with Roger Reeves. Additionally, the fellows’ work will be published in the summer 2023 issue of EcoTheo Review.

Carroll and Hassan are the third cohort of Starshine and Clay Fellows, which launched in 2021, and join Michael Frazier, Asmaa Jama, Oak Morse, Gracia Mwamba, Ashunda Norris, and Rajon Staunton in this honor.

Named in honor of Cave Canem elder Lucille Clifton (“won’t you celebrate with me), the Starshine and Clay Fellowship was developed to speak to the mentorship Clifton offered Cave Canem Fellows during her tenure as faculty at the Retreat.

About the Starshine and Clay fellows:

Kenny Carroll is a writer from DC. He is a former DC Youth Poet Laureate, and received the Thomas Lux Scholarship from Sarah Lawrence. His work has been featured in Split This Rock’s
The Quarry, The Hill Rag, and Beltway Quarterly, among others. He is a Watering Hole and Obsidian fellow, as well as a teacher for students of all ages.

Edil Hassan is the author of Dugsi Girl (Akashic Press) which was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the New Generation of African Poets series. A finalist for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in Poetry, Guernica, on the Academy of American Poets’ website and is anthologized in Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books). She is a graduate of the MFA at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is the senior poetry fellow.

About the Judge:

Roger Reeves is the author of King Me, Best Barbarian, and the forthcoming Dark Days: Fugitive Essays, his first book of nonfiction. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard University, and a Whiting Award. Best Barbarian was a finalist in poetry for the National Book Award. His poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, The New York Times, Yale Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Previous judges were: Airea D. Matthews; Gregory Pardlo

About EcoTheo Collective:

EcoTheo Collective envisions a world in which care for the places we inhabit, the people we encounter, and the lives we lead makes for lasting beauty in art, nature, and community. In the work we publish online and quarterly print editions of EcoTheo Review, we cultivate conversation and connection with artists and writers to bring original work to a wide audience invested in the relationships between ecology and theology, earth justice, and social justice. ETR was founded in 2013 at Princeton Theological Seminary as a literary journal dedicated to “enlivening conversations and commitments around ecology, spirituality, and art.” We celebrate and share original writing, visual art, interviews, book reviews, and scholarly articles that explore questions of religion and spirituality within contexts of ecology. The Starshine and Clay Fellowship, a partnership with Cave Canem, honors the legacy of Lucille Clifton and supports emerging Black poets with paid publishing and performing opportunities, along with mentorship from Cave Canem poets. All our work expresses our values of curiosity, justice, and community. 

This program is supported, in part, by Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund in partnership with the Academy of American Poets; Ford Foundation; Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Heinz Endowments; Lannan Foundation; New York State Council of the Arts; Poetry Foundation; and The Rona Jaffe Foundation.