The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Juan Felipe Herrera will judge the 2017 Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for poetry. The winner of the Whitman Award will receive $5,000 and be published by Graywolf Press in 2018. 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 Cooley, Suji Kwock Kim, Eric Pankey, Matt Rasmussen, and Alberto Ríos, among others. The most recent winner of the prize was Mai Der Vang, for her book Afterland, which was selected by judge Carolyn Forché and will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2017.

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 for the 2017 Walt Whitman Award will be accepted online between September 1 and November 1, 2016, and the recipient will be announced in April 2017, during National Poetry Month.

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

About Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is currently the poet laureate of the United States and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He is also professor emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and UC Riverside. His numerous honors include fellowships and grants from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the L.A. Times Book Prize’s Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. Herrera’s books of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights, 2015); Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press, 2013); Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008), a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (City Lights, 2007).

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, please 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