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History

Undocupoets is co-organized by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Janine Joseph, and Esther Lin.

​Undocupoets (then the “Undocupoets Campaign”) was co-founded in 2015 by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Javier Zamora, and Christopher Soto to protest the immigration status-based, discriminatory practices of many poetry book contests. On the Apogee journal website, Undocupoets published an open petition asking eight highly visible and renowned first-book poetry contests to improve the language stating U.S. citizenship as a requirement for submission or publication. The Undocupoets Campaign was successful and, with the help of the Undocupoets, the guidelines at all eight contests were altered (to varying degrees) to reflect more inclusive publishing, spurring other presses and awards to do the same. For their work, the co-founders were awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, established by Poets & Writers.

Janine Joseph joined Undocupoets in the fall of 2016 in place of Soto as the project moved into the fellowship phase. In the summer of 2017, Esther Lin, recipient of an inaugural Undocupoets Fellowship, joined in place of Zamora.

The Sibling Rivalry Press Foundation hosted The Undocupoets Fellowship from its inception through September 2021.

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Esther Lin, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Janine Joseph. Lincoln Center, NYC. 2022

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Christopher Soto, Janine Joseph, Esther Lin, Javier Zamora. Tampa, FL. 2018.

​Undocupoets is supported by grants from the Academy of American Poets/Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund, the Literary Arts Emergency Fund, and through private donations. Undocupoets has also collaborated with and been supported by Alice James Books, Andrews McMeel Publishers, Apogee Journal, Asian American Writers Workshop, The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, BOA Editions, Canto Mundo, Catapult, CT Undocufund, Fusion News, Hyphen Magazine, Kundiman, Lambda Literary Foundation, Los Angeles Times, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Nightboat Books, Persea Books, Poetry Society of America, Quarterly West, Sibling Rivalry Press, Southern Humanities Review, Split This Rock, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, SOAS Library (University of London), The New Republic, and more.

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