Ashley Capps & Allison Titus

Creativity, 2023, Grantee Link >

CAF awarded Ashley Capps (left) and Allison Titus a grant for their book The New Sent(i)ence: Revisioning the Animal in 21st-Century Poetry. This anthology of poems references the well-known manifesto The New Sentence by Ron Silliman, who in 1977 urged a new type of poem that prioritized “the hidden capacities of the blank space.” The New Sent(i)ence also refers to a recent re-visioning and understanding of animal sentience. The long-unchallenged view of nonhuman animals as un-self-aware non-agents has unequivocally been put to rest by the scientific community, perhaps most notably with the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. Ashley and Allison argue that poetry is a vital tool for rehabilitating the literary blank space of the animal with a “new sentence” that engages animals as individuals, protagonists of their own unfolding dramas rather than props for our own, and as beings for whom liberation is an existential birthright.

Ashley holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa, and currently works as a writer, editor, and researcher for the non-profit organizations Free From Harm and A Well-Fed World. She has published a book of poems, Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields, and is at work on a second collection. Allison is the author of two collections of poetry, three chapbooks, and a novel. A recipient of poetry fellowships from the NEA and Yaddo, she is on faculty in the low-residency MFA program at New England College, and works as a proofreader/copy editor for an advertising agency. Her poems have appeared in A Public Space, Tin House, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Sporklet and Bennington Review, among others.

The New Sent(i)ence: Revisioning the Animal in 21st-Century Poetry, with a foreword by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, is slated to be published by Trinity University Press in early 2025.