Puerto Rican Ricardo Alberto Maldonado Becomes the First Latino President of the Academy of American Poets

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

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Puerto Rican poet Ricardo Alberto Maldonado has become the first-ever Latino executive director and president of the Academy of American Poets since it was founded in 1934. 

“We are thrilled to announce the historic appointment of Ricardo Maldonado as the next Executive Director and President of the Academy of American Poets,” the organization tweeted.

Tess O’Dwyer, poet and board chair at the academy, added that the Board of Directors voted “unanimously and enthusiastically” to select Ricardo Maldonado for this position. 

The boricua author graduated from Tufts University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. His poetry book “The Life Assignment,” published in 2020, was a Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award finalist. 

After Hurricane Maria hit “La Isla del Encanto” in 2017, Maldonado coedited “Puerto Rico en mi corazón,” a bilingual poetry project published in 2019 that raised funds for recovery efforts on the island.

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado’s impressive career

The poet is co-director of 92NY’s Unterberg Poetry Center, where he has produced reading series and workshops. He is also the board chair of the Poetry Project and part of the board of directors of the Poetry Committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival and the New York Foundation for the Arts. 

Additionally, Ricardo Maldonado is part of El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/The Puerto Rican Literature Project, a free online platform seeking to educate its readers about Puerto Rican literature. The project currently has around 50,000 bilingual digital archives. 

“An honor para nosotres/for us and an expanding definition of whom an us could be, with an open and generous heart, I will be here,” Maldonado wrote in an Instagram post, also sharing a photo of his recent appointment at the Academy of American Poets. 

According to the organization, the boricua poet will begin his new role on July 17, 2023.


By Fernanda Leon

Fernanda Leon is a bilingual writer, editor, and content creator based in Washington, DC. She has worked as a reporter and digital producer at the radio, print, broadcast, and digital industries in the past with some names like NBCUniversal, MVS and Narcity Media. When she’s not working, Fernanda loves to spend time at local coffee shops, traveling, or visiting her hometown of El Paso, TX. You can catch more of her work Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok as @fernandalefon.

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