Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, National Endowment for the Arts, and Poetry Foundation Announce
Maps to the Next World

A Literary Arts Initiative
Stylized image of a map with text: "Maps to the Next World. A Literary Arts Initiative" Three small icons are along the bottom picturing a scroll, a pegasus, and a quill pen

Led by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, Maps to the Next World is a new digital publishing initiative that seeks to chart new paths forward for the literary arts field. Through a series of commissioned essays published online in a range of journals and linked to APAC’s website, Maps to the Next World seeks to inspire wide-ranging reflections on challenges facing the many sectors of the literary arts and the role the field plays in public life. The initiative will provide a forum for bold ideas and actionable steps towards a more just, accessible, and financially viable literary arts ecosystem.

“In the era of COVID-19, publishing houses, bookstores, creative writing education, literary presenters, and festivals—all have been forced to undergo tremendous changes,” said Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, project lead and APAC curator. “Our question is: how do we want the literary arts to change going forward?” Added Amy Stolls, director of Literary Arts for the NEA: “There is much we can learn from each other within the literary arts field, but also from those outside of it. By lifting up a variety of voices, we hope this initiative will encourage new connections and conversations, as well as ideas worth acting upon.”

Maps to the Next World draws its title from the poem “A Map to the Next World” by former US Poet Laureate and NEA Creative Writing Fellow Joy Harjo. The commissioned pieces by both established and emerging writers will range in length, style, form, and perspective. They will engage with topics relevant to a wide range of individuals, organizations, coalitions, and communities within the literary arts, including stakeholders such as writers and translators, teaching artists and book reviewers, literary journals and small presses, reading series and writing workshops. For more information and to keep abreast of published pieces, please visit the website

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit to learn more.

About the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) was founded in 1997 as a mission-critical initiative to further the inclusion of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders across the Smithsonian's collections, research, exhibitions, and programs. Having celebrated its 25th year in 2022, APAC is focused on building a national program supporting K-12 AAPI education and a future dedicated gallery on the National Mall. Follow APAC on Twitter and Instagram: @SmithsonianAPA. 

About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. The Foundation works to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and Poetry magazine at @PoetryMagazine.






Alex Fairchild, (202) 256-8735;
Nafisa Isa, (202) 633-2693;  
Liz Auclair, NEA,