New York, NY (July 26, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess will judge the 2022 Academy of American Poets First Book Award, the nation’s most generous first-book prize for poetry. The winner will receive $5,000 and their manuscript will be published by Graywolf Press in 2023. 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 winner will also receive a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri 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 First Book Award is designed to encourage the work of emerging poets and enable the publication of a poet’s first book. Previous recipients include poets Alberto Ríos, Christopher Gilbert, Nicole Cooley, Suji Kwock Kim, Matt Rasmussen, Mai Der Vang, Leah Naomi Green, and Threa Almontaser, among others. The most recent winner of the prize was Kemi Alabi, for their book Against Heaven, which was selected by judge Claudia Rankine and will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2022.

The Academy of American Poets First Book Award is one of the annual American Poets Prizes, a collection of twelve major prizes given by the Academy, and is currently made possible by financial support from our members. Other prizes include the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship.

Submissions to the 2022 Academy of American Poets First Book Award will be accepted online between August 1 and October 1, 2021, and the recipient will be announced in April 2022 during National Poetry Month. All poets who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply. 

To review the eligibility requirements and official guidelines, and to submit to the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, visit:

About Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess was born in Detroit, Michigan, and earned a BA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from New York University. He is the author of Olio (Wave Books, 2016), winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and leadbelly (Wave Books, 2005), winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as a Whiting Award. Jess is a Professor of English at the College of Staten Island.

About the Academy of American Poets

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. The organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1.25 million to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The organization also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture.

About Graywolf Press

Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. Graywolf champions outstanding writers at all stages of their careers to ensure that adventurous readers can find underrepresented and diverse voices in a crowded marketplace. For more information, visit

About Civitella Ranieri

Located in a fifteenth-century castle in Umbria, Italy, Civitella Ranieri is a residency for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than one thousand 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, Civitella enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and beautiful setting. For more information, visit