New York, NY (July 30, 2018)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Li-Young Lee will judge the 2019 Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for poetry. The winner of the Whitman Award will receive $5,000, and the winning manuscript will be published by Graywolf Press in 2020. In addition, the Academy of American Poets will purchase and send thousands of copies of the book to its members, which will make it one of the most widely distributed poetry books of the year. The award winner will also receive a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, and will be featured in American Poets magazine and on Poets.org, which reaches millions of readers each year.
Established in 1975, the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award is designed to encourage the work of emerging poets. Previous recipients include poets Nicole Cooley, Suji Kwock Kim, Eric Pankey, Matt Rasmussen, Alberto Ríos, and Mai Der Vang, among others. The most recent winner of the prize was Emily Skaja, for her book BRUTE, which was selected by judge Joy Harjo and will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2019.
The annual award is one of the American Poets Prizes, a collection of ten major prizes given by the Academy of American Poets, and it is made possible by financial support from the organization’s members. Other prizes include the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which is the most generous book-of-the-year prize in poetry; the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement; and the $25,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship.
Submissions to the 2019 Walt Whitman Award will be accepted online between September 1 and November 1, 2018, and the recipient will be announced in April 2019, during National Poetry Month.
For more information about the Walt Whitman Award and the American Poets Prizes, visit poets.org/academy-american-poets/prizes.
About Li-Young Lee
Li-Young Lee received the 2003 Academy of American Poets Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement. He is the author of The Undressing (W. W. Norton, 2018); Behind My Eyes (W. W. Norton, 2008); Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions, 1990), which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Rose (BOA Editions, 1986), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. His many honors include a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Writer's Award.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month, which it founded; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other resources for K-12 educators; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events.
The Academy of American Poets is part of a national poetry coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
About Graywolf Press
Graywolf Press is an independent, nonprofit publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature. For more information, visit www.graywolfpress.org.
About Civitella Ranieri
Located in a fifteenth-century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy, Civitella Ranieri Center is a workplace for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than six hundred Fellows and Director’s Guests. In keeping with the spirit of its founder, Ursula Corning, and the tradition of hospitality and support for the arts that she established at the castle, the Center enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and inspiring setting. For more information, visit www.civitella.org.