Every year the Brodsky Fund grants two fellowships: one for an artist and the other for a poet. Both fellowships provide the opportunity to work and live in Italy for a period of three months. 

The poetry fellowships are granted by a jury of three, working from nominations by a number of editors, critics, scholars, directors of regional literary organizations, and other specialists. The art fellowships are granted by a jury of three who assemble the nominations. The jurors and nominators are anonymous and appointed by the Brodsky Fund board on a rotating schedule.

Fellows are offered a three-month stay (including travel and visa expenses and a stipend to cover costs and materials), most often as guests of host institutions in Italy: these have included the American Academy in Rome, the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, La Sapienza (The University of Rome), and the Institute for Advanced Study in Bologna.

 Joseph Brodsky Fellowships have no limitations with regard to age, ethnicity, religion, gender, or political affiliation. Candidates for a fellowship in poetry should be Russian language speakers, and candidates in both fields should live in the geographic boundaries of the former Soviet Union, or in exceptional cases outside. Exceptional cases should take into consideration not only quality of the candidate’s work but restrictions on their opportunity for travel. Candidates should speak either English or Italian. In both fields, jurors recognize both young candidates and candidates in mid- and late-career: a primary consideration should be, in addition to the quality of their work, the expected benefit to their work and life experience of a sojourn in Italy. Self-nominations are not accepted.