The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith has selected Sjohnna McCray as the recipient of the 2015 Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize. As the winner of the Whitman Award, McCray’s manuscript, Rapture, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2016, and the Academy of American Poets will purchase and send thousands of copies of the book to its members, making it one of the most widely distributed poetry books of the year. McCray will also receive a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, $5,000, and will be featured on and in American Poets magazine.

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