The Foundation Celebrates 61 Years of
National Book Awards Poetry

National Book Awards Poetry Winners - 1950 to PresentThe NBF poetry blog is now live. >

- Winners Make Up a Pantheon of Post-War American Poetry, Including William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden,
Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, and John Ashbery

- Retrospective to Include Daily Blog, Individual Author Web Pages, Panel Discussions, and Readings

- Public Programs to Take Place in New York, Minneapolis, and Portland (Oregon)

- Poets Elizabeth Alexander, Stephen Burt, Tony Hoagland, James Longenbach, Maureen McLane, Katie Peterson, and Susan Stewart to Participate in New York Programs

- Thirteen Emerging Poets to Write Blog Essays on NBA Winners

From February through April of 2011, the Foundation will host a retrospective examining more than sixty years of American poetry. The retrospective will include a daily blog featuring essays by emerging poets on all past Winners of the National Book Award for Poetry, as well as a series of public programs in three U.S. cities.

Each day for ten weeks, beginning on February 14, 2011, the Foundation will publish a brief, original blog essay on a National Book Award Winner, beginning with William Carlos Williams, Winner of the first National Book Award for Poetry in 1950. In addition to the essay, each blog page will include a brief biography of the poet and related information and links.

The bloggers are:

In addition, the Foundation will co-sponsor public discussions and readings to focus on the entire list of National Book Award Poetry Winners in three locations across the country: The New School and the Center for Book Arts in New York, The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon, featuring some of America’s foremost poets and poetry scholars.

On February 24, 2011, in New York, Elizabeth Alexander, Stephen Burt, Tony Hoagland, James Longenbach, Maureen McLane, and Susan Stewart will kick off events with a panel discussion entitled “Lineage: American Poetry Since 1950,” moderated by Katie Peterson, using the National Book Award as a point of departure to assess post-War poetry trends and achievements. The following evening, Burt, Hoagland, Longenbach, McLane, Peterson, and Stewart will read from their own work at the Center for Book Arts.National Endowment for the Arts Logo

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the project will result in a digitized literary archive—with curatorial appreciations of the 57 books by contemporary poets, digitized images of the original covers, portrait photographs of the authors, and related information and links—that will take up permanent residence on the Foundation’s website.

Additional funding has been provided by the New York Council for the Humanities.

According to the Foundation’s Director of Programs, Leslie Shipman, who developed the program along with Executive Director Harold Augenbraum and Program Manager Rebecca Keith, “This look back at our list of Poetry Winners allows us to examine the ways in which American poetry has evolved over the past sixty years, more than a century beyond the wellsprings of Dickinson and Whitman, into the multiplicity of passions it represents today. For some it is merely a list of poets whom we now consider canonical; for others it is a document of exclusion along aesthetic, gender, and racial lines. The Foundation hopes to spark a spirited discussion of where American poetry has been, where it is now, and where it might be headed as we enter a new age of possibility for this most ancient form of expression.”

Lineage: American Poetry Since 1950 Panel Bios

Image of Elizabeth AlexanderElizabeth Alexander’s most recent book is Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010. She is the author of five previous books of poetry, including American Sublime, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and two books of essays, including The Black Interior. Her awards and honors include the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement in Poetry award, the Jackson Poetry Prize of Poets & Writers, Inc., and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. Alexander is the chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University.
Photo credit: CJ Gunther

Image of Stephen BurtStephen Burt is Professor of English at Harvard. His books include The Art of the Sonnet, with David Mikics (Harvard UP, 2010); Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (Graywolf, 2009); The Forms of Youth (Columbia UP, 2007); and Parallel Play, a collection of poems (Graywolf, 2006). His reviews and essays—most of them about poets and poetry, and a few of them about pop music, politics or women's basketball—appear almost regularly in Boston Review, the London Review of Books, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, PN Review, and several other journals on both sides of the Atlantic.
Photo credit: Jessica Burt

Image of Tony HoaglandTony Hoagland’s collections of poetry include Unincorporated Persons of the Late Honda Dynasty; What Narcissism Means to Me, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Donkey Gospel, which received the James Laughlin Award; and Sweet Ruin, chosen by Donald Justice for the 1992 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. He has also published two chapbooks, Hard Rain and Little Oceans, and Real Sofistikashun, a collection of craft essays about poetry. Hoagland's other honors include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, the O.B. Hardisson Prize for Poetry and Teaching from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Poetry Foundation's 2005 Mark Twain Award in recognition of his contribution to humor in American poetry. He currently teaches at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson College MFA program.
Photo credit: Kathleen Lee

Image of James LongenbachJames Longenbach is the author of four collections of poems, most recently The Iron Key, published by W.W. Norton, as well as five books of literary criticism, most recently The Art of the Poetic Line, published by Graywolf. His poems and his reviews of contemporary poets have appeared in many magazines, including The Nation, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review. He teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and at the University of Rochester, where he is the Joseph H. Gilmore Professor of English.
Photo credit: Adam Fenster

Image of Maureen McLaneMaureen N. McLane is the author of two books of poems, World Enough (2010) and Same Life (2008), as well as a poetry chapbook, This Carrying Life (2005). She has also published two books of literary criticism: Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (2008) and Romanticism and the Human Sciences (2006); she co-edited The Cambridge Companion to British Romantic Poetry (2008). A contributing editor at Boston Review, she was for years the chief poetry critic of the Chicago Tribune; her articles on poetry, contemporary fiction, and sexuality have appeared widely, in (e.g.) The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Review, The Washington Post, American Poet, and on the Poetry Foundation website. In 2003 she won the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Award for Excellence in Book Reviewing. She has taught at NYU since 2008.
Photo credit: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Image of Susan StewartA poet, critic, and translator, Susan Stewart is the author of five books of poetry, including Red Rover, Columbarium, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle award, and The Forest. Her most recent books of criticism are the forthcoming The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making; Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, and The Open Studio: Essays on Art and Aesthetics, a collection of her writings on contemporary art. Her song cycle, "Songs for Adam," commissioned by the Chicago Symphony, with music by the composer James Primosch, had its world premiere with baritone Brian Mulligan and the CSO, Sir Andrew Davis conducting, last October, and in 2009 she also received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A former MacArthur Fellow and current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she is the Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.
Photo courtesy of University of Chicago Press


Image of Katie Peterson Katie Peterson is the author of a book of poems, This One Tree (New Issues, 2006). She has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Her reviews have appeared in the Boston Review and the Chicago Tribune. She teaches literature at Bennington College.
Photo credit: Ariana Ervin

Sixty-One Years of National Book Awards Poetry Blogger Bios

Image of Dilruba Ahmed
Dilruba Ahmed
’s debut book of poems, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf, 2011), won the 2010 Bakeless Prize for poetry. Ahmed’s writing has appeared in Blackbird, Cream City Review, New England Review, and The Normal School. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and lives near Philadelphia. For more information, visit her website at
Photo credit: Mike Drzal

Image of Megan Snyder-CampMegan Snyder-Camp's first book of poems, The Forest of Sure Things, is a deconstructed domestic narrative set in a small, historically preserved village on the Pacific Northwest coast. Her poems have appeared in Field, the Antioch Review, Smartish Pace, Hayden's Ferry Review, and elsewhere. She recently received an Individual Artist grant from Washington's 4Culture Foundation to support her current work.
Photo credit: Laura M. Hoffmann

Image of Scott ChallenerScott Challener teaches writing in Boston University’s Writing Program and Metropolitan College and Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, and he volunteers for PEN New England’s Prison Writing Program and 826 Boston. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Narrative Magazine, The Rumpus, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere.
Photo credit: Thomas Gearty

Image of Ross GayRoss Gay’s books of poems include Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006) and Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming January 2011). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, MARGIE, Ploughshares, and many other magazines. He has also, with the artist Kimberly Thomas, collaborated on several artists’ books, including The Cold Loop, BRN2HNT, and The Bullet. He is an editor with the chapbook press Q Avenue. Gay received his MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his PhD in American Literature from Temple University. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program in poetry at Drew University, and in Indiana University’s English department.
Photo credit: Zach Hetrick

Image of John MurilloJohn Murillo is the author of the poetry collection, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher Books, 2010). A graduate of New York University's MFA program in creative writing, he has received fellowships from the New York Times, Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, among others. He is a founding member of the collective, The Symphony, and is currently visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Cornell University.
Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Image of Katie Peterson
Katie Peterson
is the author of a book of poems, This One Tree (New Issues, 2006). She has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Her reviews have appeared in the Boston Review and the Chicago Tribune. She teaches literature at Bennington College.
Photo credit: Ariana Ervin

Image of Kiki Petrosino
Kiki Petrosino
is the author of Fort Red Border (Sarabande, 2009). She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poems have appeared in FENCE, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Louisville.
Photo credit: Philip Miller

Image of Saara Myrene Raappana
Saara Myrene Raappana
has new poems in 32 Poems, Cave Wall, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review Online, and Southern Poetry Review and has been featured on Verse Daily. She is a managing editor for Cellpoems.


Image of Patrick RosalPatrick Rosal is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (Persea, 2003), which won the Members' Choice Award from the Asian American Writers' Workshop, and most recently My American Kundiman (Persea, 2006), which won the Association of Asian American Studies 2006 Book Award in Poetry and the 2007 Global Filipino Literary Award. Awarded a Fulbright grant as a Senior U.S. Scholar to the Philippines in 2009, he has had poems and essays published widely in journals and anthologies, including Harvard Review, Tin House, American Poetry Review, The Literary Review, the Beacon Best, and Language for a New Century.
Photo credit: Stephen Sullivan

Image of Lee Pinkas
Lee Felice Pinkas
' poetry and translations have been published in the Crab Orchard Review, Diagram, Witness, and Denver Quarterly, among other places. She is a teacher of English and government at a private girls' high school in New York City.

Image of Christoper Shannon

Christopher Shannon’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Mid-American Review, and 32 Poems. He has published reviews in the Germanic Review, and is the editor of Cellpoems.

Image of Evie ShockleyEvie Shockley’s collections of poetry include the new black (Wesleyan University Press, forthcoming 2011), a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), and two chapbooks. She is also author of the forthcoming critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (Iowa, 2011). Poems have recently appeared or will soon appear in such journals and anthologies as Callaloo, A Broken Thing: Contemporary Poets on the Line, Iron Horse Literary Review, esque, Talisman, Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook, and Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Shockley co-edits jubilat and is an Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
Photo credit: Stéphane Robolin

Image of Eric Smith
Eric Smith
is a managing editor of Cellpoems. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Green Mountains Review, Five Points, and Best New Poets 2010. He teaches at Marshall University.