The Academy of American Poets has appointed Ricardo Alberto Maldonado as its next executive director and president. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Maldonado is the first Latinx leader of the Academy in its 89-year history. He will begin his new role on July 17.

Maldonado currently serves as codirector of 92NY’s Unterberg Poetry Center, where he has worked for 16 years. There, he founded the Center’s Young Writers Workshop, a three-week program for high school students; a teacher’s workshop focusing on making poetry accessible to young readers through curriculum design; and a residency for Spanish-speaking poets. He has also spearheaded 92NY’s online seminar curriculum since 2020 and was a founding member of the organization’s DEI committee.

In addition, he is the co-editor of A New Colossus, an online anthology of emerging voices celebrating Emma Lazarus’s work, and Joy and Hope and All That, a tribute to Lucille Clifton. He is the translator of Collateral by Dinapiera Di Donato, published in 2014, and the author of the 2020 collection The Life Assignment. Maldonado is also the board chair of the Poetry Project and serves on the board of directors of the New York Foundation for the Arts and on the poetry committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival.

"As poetry becomes increasingly available and more vital to our national conversation, and as the Academy looks toward its ninetieth anniversary in 2024, I am honored to carry forward the organization’s mission of serving readers and supporting poets at all stages of their careers," said Maldonado in a statement. "I look forward to joining forces with the Academy’s staff, Board of Directors, and Board of Chancellors—many of whom have mentored me—to keep finding the essence of poetry in our world, and to reflect on how art can responsibly shape how we see ourselves in the present and into the future.”