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We are looking forward to participating in Ithaca’s Spring Writes literary festival again this year with a poetry reading on Friday, May 1 featuring Saltonstall alumnae, Monica Sok (’16) and Ama Codjoe (’17). 

Join the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts as we welcome back to Ithaca two exceptional poet alums of our residency program who both have newly published works.We will be celebrating the publication of Monica Sok’s first full-length collection of poetry, A Nail the Evening Hangs On from Copper Canyon Press. In this debut, described as “staggering” and “transformative,” Monica “illuminates the experiences of Cambodian diaspora and reflects on America’s role in escalating the genocide in Cambodia.”

Ama Codjoe will be reading from her new chapbook, Blood of the Air from Northwestern University Press. This work “creates a new mythology, repurposing spectacle, stereotype, and song. Inspired by the fictions and frictions of the past, each poem in this collection complicates the next. Lush lyrical moments give way to fracture, vulnerability, and reinvention.”

Monica Sok is a Cambodian American poet and the daughter of former refugees. She is the author of A Nail the Evening Hangs On (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Her work has been recognized with a “Discovery” Prize from 92Y. She has received fellowships and residencies from Poetry Society of America, Hedgebrook, Elizabeth George Foundation, National Endowment  for the Arts, Kundiman, Jerome Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Saltonstall Foundation, and others.

Currently, Monica is a 2018-2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and has taught poetry to Southeast Asian youths at Banteay Srei and the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Oakland, California. She is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Her debut poetry collection A Nail the Evening Hangs On is out this month.


Based in New York City, poet Ama Codjoe is the author of Blood of the Air (Northwestern University Press, 2020), winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize.

She has been awarded support from Cave Canem, Jerome, Robert Rauschenberg, and Saltonstall foundations, as well as from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Crosstown Arts, Hedgebrook, and the MacDowell Colony.

Ama is the recipient of a 2017 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, The Georgia Review’s 2018 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, a 2019 DISQUIET Literary Prize, a 2019 Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award, and a 2019 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.