In a statement released today, Nicole Sealey, who has been the executive director of the Cave Canem Foundation since 2017, announced she would be stepping down from the position after her current term ends on June 28. The search for her successor is underway.
Under Sealey’s leadership, the Brooklyn, New York–based foundation has received recognition for its continued work as “a home for the many voices of African American poetry” and its commitment “to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.” In January 2018, the organization received the $100,000 Spark Prize from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and its list of funders has grown to include the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. The organization also established a partnership with the Brooklyn Museum and launched several new workshops and programs for emerging poets.
In her previous role as programs director at Cave Canem, Sealey developed the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Prior to Cave Canem, Sealey worked for nearly eight years as the assistant director of the Readings/Workshop (East) and Writers Exchange programs at Poets & Writers, Inc.
A poet whose first collection, Ordinary Beast, was published by Ecco in 2017, Sealey was recently named one of five recipients of the annual Hodder Fellowship, given by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. The academic fellowship aims “to provide artists and humanists in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to undertake significant new work.”
In her statement Sealey said, “It has been an honor and a great joy to be part of this revolutionary experiment as a fan, fellow and, most recently, executive director. While June 28th will be my last day at Cave Canem as its executive director, it will not be my last day with Cave Canem as an ardent admirer, proud graduate fellow and lifelong advocate.”