The National Endowment for the Arts has the 2016 Fellowship in Poetry Guidelines up. Your deadline is March 9, 2016. The fellowships are $25,000.
You are eligible to apply in Poetry if, between January 1, 2009, and March 9, 2016, you have had published:
- A volume of 48 or more pages of poetry; or
- Twenty or more different poems or pages of poetry in five or more literary journals, anthologies, or publications which regularly include poetry as a portion of their format. Up to 16 poems may be in a single volume of poetry of fewer than 48 pages. This volume, however, may count as only one of the required five places of publication. For online publications, a page of poetry is considered to be twenty lines or less.
You may use digital, audio, or online publications to establish eligibility, provided that such publications have competitive selection processes and stated editorial policies. If the online publication or website no longer exists, you must provide, upon request, sufficient evidence that your work once appeared online. If sufficient evidence cannot be provided, the online publication will not be eligible. You must meet the eligibility requirements by the deadline date. No exceptions will be made to the eligibility requirements.
As someone who's received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry in the past, let me reinforce the importance of paying attention to your work sample and the formatting. This is a key area where you could get tripped up. These guidelines include:
Your manuscript sample must be a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 10 typescript pages of poetry, with no more than one poem per page or else one long poem (or section of a long poem). Applicants may submit any combination of poems (e.g., two, five-page poems or ten, one-page poems), but the total cannot exceed 10 pages.
Your manuscript sample must be from work that you have written in the time period that establishes your eligibility, and for which you have sole artistic responsibility. You may submit published work, unpublished work, or work in progress. Do not indicate whether or not the material has been published. Your sample has to be all poetry.
Your sample has to be completely free of your name, initials, address, or any other marks that could identify you. If your name appears in your manuscript or in your header, your application will be deemed ineligible.
Here's my writing sample that I used for my 2009 Fellowship in Poetry. I would stress that the important thing for you is to turn in a sample where your voice and ambition speak clearly and with focus, even as you cover different topics within your particular poetic concerns.
Good luck, and don't wait until the last minute!