Academy of American Poets First Book Award

The Academy of American Poets First Book Award is a $5,000 first-book publication prize. The winning manuscript, chosen by an acclaimed poet, is published by Graywolf Press, an award-winning independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature. The winner also receives an all-expenses-paid, six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center, a 15th-century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy, where they will become part of a cohort of accomplished international artists, writers, and composers; distribution of their winning book to thousands of Academy of American Poets members, making it one of the most widely-distributed poetry books that year; inclusion and promotion in American Poets magazine, the Academy’s newsletter, and, among other opportunities. 

This award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet’s first book. It is currently made possible by financial support from the members of the Academy of American Poets. From 1975–2020, the award was titled in tribute to Walt Whitman. Please see a list of Walt Whitman Award winners below.

Submissions for the 2025 Academy of American Poets First Book Award will be accepted from July 1, 2024 to September 1, 2024. The judge is former Academy Chancellor Alberto Ríos.