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  • Ed Madden Creating Rain Poetry

Today Columbia, Tomorrow the Nation

Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden is named to the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellows

Ed Madden, English professor and director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at South Carolina, has been named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. He shares this honor with 12 other poets from around the country, recognized for their literary excellence.

In 2018, Madden made his mark on Columbia as the city’s inaugural poet laureate, literally. He launched the Rain Poetry project, spray-painting poems on Columbia sidewalks in an effort to encourage citizens to see poetry as public art. Madden shared the words of young poets around the city using a special paint that only reveals the poetry when it rains. He has also shared poems on city buses, and through fake parking tickets left on cars, all in the interest of bringing poetry to the people. He also encourages others to write poems and challenge their own definition of poetry.

It’s efforts like these that helped Madden earn the top spot as a Poet Laureate Fellow. The fellowship will support more of his civic projects, ultimately increasing the reach and influence of poetry in South Carolina. 

The fellowship is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and was launched in April to recognize National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets hopes that this fellowship will spotlight and encourage poets’ important contributions to civic engagement.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.