New York, NY (April 22, 2024)—For Earth Day, which is today, April 22, the Academy of American Poets announces the winners of the 2024 Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize, which honors exceptional poems that help readers recognize the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment. The winners were selected by poet and naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield and climate scientist Kate Marvel, PhD. This annual prize was launched in 2019 with generous support from Treehouse Investments, LLC. 

The winning poems and poets are: 

First place: “Parable” by Nickole Brown (to be published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2024)

Second place: “Borrow” by Sarah McCartt-Jackson (to be published in Poem-a-Day on May 5, 2024) 

Third place: “Green Burial Unsonnet” by Dante Di Stefano (to be published in Poem-a-Day on May 12, 2024) 

First place will receive $1,000; second place, $750; and third place, $500. In addition, all three poems will be published in the popular Poem-a-Day series, which is distributed to over 900,000 individuals each day via email and podcast, on, and across social media. 

To sign up for Poem-a-Day and read the winning poems on the selected dates, visit:   

About the first-place poem, judges Elizabeth Bradfield and Kate Marvel, wrote: 

“How does tired language reclaim its potency? Do we want to kill any birds with any stones? Put any cat in any bag? ‘Parable’ beautifully and playfully engages the dislocation of a swiftly changing world, and the potential for discovering the hidden truths and connections that have been hiding there all along. As climate change nudges the world into uncharted territory, familiar things will start to lose their old meanings and acquire new ones. The shift from the horse’s gifted mouth to the magic of cicadas rising, the question of what it means for a horse to twice witness a thirteen-year emergence, is a wonder. ‘Parable’ ends with the perfect exhortation for these times: ‘the plea of every living being in that field / we call ours, is the two-word commandment / trilling from the trees: let live, let live, let live.’”

About the second- and third-place poems, the judges wrote: 

“‘Can I borrow a tissue?’ Of course, when we say ‘borrow,’ we mean ‘take.’ In this poem, we are reminded of that when it comes to bluestem, cottonwood, and the land itself. ‘Borrow’ is a gorgeously written, haunting meditation on what we take and cannot return. This poem is graceful in both senses of the word: elegant, but also evoking a forgiveness (grace) we have not earned but receive nonetheless if we step outside and stand in the sun. In just fifteen lines, this poem also holds what we attempt to do in repair: plant, listen, observe—we borrow those moments, too. What can we return when ‘A tree frog croaks from its harddark hole in / the otherwise empty change slot of a vending machine.’”

“A poem that wishes for human death not to leave as its legacy Amazon packing tape but rather to provide nourishment for others ongoing, ‘Green Burial Unsonnet’ embraces the paradox of one who intellectually understands their part in anthropogenic harm and experiences a vibrant love of the earth (‘There are still blackberries enough to light the brain with the star charts of a sweetness’). ‘Green Burial Unsonnet’s’ tightly packed prose poem paragraphs gesture toward the body (the body’s grave?) in its enclosure and also escapes it, exploring the dissonance and strange beauty of the human position in the world now: both of and outside of what pulses around us, beyond our built walls.”

For more information about the prize, including the full guidelines, visit:

About Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Toward Antarctica (Red Hen/Boreal Books, 2019) and Once Removed (Persea Books, 2015), and coeditor of the anthologies Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry (Mountaineers Books, 2023) and Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic/Artistic Collaboration, 2005–2020 (Provincetown Arts Press, 2022). Her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize in Lesbian Poetry for her first book, Interpretive Work (Red Hen/Arktoi Books, 2008), and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. Bradfield lives on Cape Cod, works as a naturalist, teaches at Brandeis University, and is editor-in-chief of Broadsided.

About Kate Marvel

Kate Marvel, PhD, is a climate scientist. She serves on the chapter leadership team of the U.S. Fifth National Climate Assessment, has given a TED talk, appeared on Meet the Press and The Ezra Klein Show, and testified before the U.S. Congress. Her research centers on climate modeling to better predict how much the Earth’s temperature will rise in the future, and her work has identified human influences on present-day cloud cover, rainfall patterns, and drought risk. Her book Human Nature is forthcoming from Ecco Press in 2025. 

About the Academy of American Poets

Celebrating its ninetieth anniversary in 2024, the Academy of American Poets is a leading publisher of contemporary poetry across the country. The organization annually awards $1.3+ million to more than two hundred poets at various stages of their careers through its prize program. It also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; established and organizes National Poetry Month each April; publishes the Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides free resources to educators; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition that promotes the value poets bring to our culture. To learn more about the Academy of American Poets, including its staff, its Board of Directors, and its Board of Chancellors, visit  


About Treehouse Investments

Treehouse Investments, LLC, is a minority-owned infrastructure investment firm dedicated to addressing climate change. Treehouse focuses on decentralized infrastructure because it believes that infrastructure provides the foundation on which all other human endeavors are built, and decentralized solutions incorporate the resilience our world increasingly needs