New York, NY (July 10, 2017)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Joy Harjo will judge the 2018 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 2019. 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, 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 CooleySuji Kwock KimEric PankeyMatt Rasmussen, and Alberto Ríos, among others. The most recent winner of the prize was Jenny Xie, for her book Eye Level, which was selected by judge Juan Felipe Herrera and will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2018.

The annual award is one of the American Poets Prizes, a collection of seven 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 2018 Walt Whitman Award will be accepted online between September 1 and November 1, 2017, and the recipient will be announced in April 2018, during National Poetry Month.

For more information about the Walt Whitman Award and the American Poets Prizes, visit

About Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo received the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in the art of poetry by the Academy of American Poets. She is a professor of English and American Indian studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her honors include fellowships and grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the PEN Open Book Award. Harjo’s numerous books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015), How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2002), and A Map to the Next World: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2000).

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, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; 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

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