In 1936, the Academy of American Poets established the first major prize for poets in the United States. Over the years, we have cultivated the most robust prize series for poets in the country, including:
- Atlas Fund
The Atlas Fund was an umbrella fund for the support of poetry book publishing in the United States. From 1994 through 2001 the fund awarded more than 50 noncommercial presses for poetry projects.
- Bassine Citation
From 1986 to 1989, this annual citation was awarded to a neglected poet or volume of poetry chosen by an Academy Fellow.
- Copernicus Award
From 1974 to 1977, the Copernicus Award was given to a poet over the age of 45 in recognition of the poet's lifetime work and contribution to poetry as a cultural force.
- Edgar Allan Poe Award
From 1974 to 1977, the Edgar Allan Poe Award was given to a poet 45 or under in recognition of the poet's continuing development of his art, and in honor of a newly published volume of the winner's poetry.
- The Eric Mathieu King Fund
From 1995 to 1999, the Eric Mathieu King Fund provided grants of up to $3,000 to support the publication of individual volumes of poetry at non-commercial presses.
- The Greenwall Fund
The Greenwall Fund, established in 1998, provided grants of up to $3,000 to support the publication of first books of original poetry at non-commercial U.S. presses.
- Lamont Poetry Selection
In 1995 this second-book award was endowed by the Drue Heinz Trust and renamed in honor of the poet and publisher James Laughlin. See the James Laughlin Award for more information.
- Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award
From 1983 to 1994, three Lavan Awards per year were given to poets 40 and under.
- Walt Whitman Award
From 1975 to 2020, the Academy's first book award was given in tribute to Walt Whitman. See the Academy of American Poets First Book Award for more information and this list of winners of the Walt Whitman Award.