Poets & Writers, Inc. is one of the largest nonprofit literary organizations in the United States serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The organization publishes a bi-monthly magazine called Poets & Writers Magazine, and is headquartered in New York City.
In 1970, the director of New York’s famed 92nd Street YM-YWHA Poetry Center, Galen Williams, leveraged seed money from the New York State Council on the Arts to launch a new organization for writers that would provide them with fees for giving readings and teaching workshops. The organization began in an apartment on the fringe of the Theater District. Since that time, Poets & Writers has grown into one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the country for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Poets & Writers cultivated new sources of revenue, enabling the organization to expand its programs and publications. Award-winning editorial and design changes elevated Poets & Writers Magazine to new subscription and advertising levels. The organization’s Readings/Workshops program was offered in new regions across the country, connecting writers and audiences in California, Chicago and Detroit, in addition to New York State, where the program began. And the Writers Exchange program, which would introduce writers to the New York literary community, was initiated.
In 2006, Poets & Writers successfully completed its first capital campaign, raising $3 million and establishing an endowment to bring the Readings/Workshops program to six new cities: Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C.
On June 18, 2022, Poets & Writers decided to join the National Coalition Against Censorship because
Efforts to limit readers’ access to books are an affront to freedom. On the same day the NCAC welcomed the move.
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Poets & Writers Magazine also serves as a resource for thousands of writers, with up-to-date information on literary grants and awards, literary magazines, presses, jobs, author directories and literary events. It's been called the "must-have journal for scribes."
Beginning with the May/June 2010 issue, the magazine has been available in digital format.
Prizes sponsored edit
Jackson Poetry Prize edit
The Jackson Poetry Prize, established in 2006, honors an American poet of exceptional talent who has published at least two books of recognized literary merit. Initially offering an award of $50,000, this prize has grown to $85,000 in 2023. The Jackson Poetry Prize is designed to provide what all poets need—time and the encouragement to write. There is no application process for the Jackson Poetry Prize; nominees are identified by a group of poets selected by Poets & Writers who remain anonymous; final selection is made by a panel of esteemed poets.
Honorees include the following:
- 2023 - Sandra Lim
- 2022 - Sonia Sanchez
- 2021 - Carl Phillips
- 2020 - Ed Roberson
- 2019 - Joy Harjo
- 2018 – John Yau
- 2017 — Patricia Spears Jones
- 2016 — Will Alexander
- 2015 — X.J. Kennedy
- 2014 — Claudia Rankine
- 2013 — Arthur Sze
- 2012 — Henri Cole
- 2011 — James Richardson
- 2010 — Harryette Mullen
- 2009 — Linda Gregg
- 2008 — Tony Hoagland
- 2007 — Elizabeth Alexander
The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award edit
Initiated in 1984, the Writers Exchange Award provides two emerging writers with an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City where P&W arranges meetings with agents, editors, and prominent authors. The winners' visit culminates in a public reading in Manhattan.
Each year, two writers from one state are invited to submit manuscripts to Poets & Writers. To date, 76 writers from 30 states have received the Writers Exchange Award. Many of the winners have gone on to get their books published, receive other awards, and secure teaching positions.
In 2007, a special grant enabled P&W to offer the Writers Exchange to two writers from California. Two writers from Missouri also received the Writers Exchange Award this year.
In 2008, Writers who live in Tennessee are invited to apply for the 2009 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. Bryn Chancellor was the WEX award winner of 2014. In 2016, the Maureen Egen WEX Award invited Maine writers and poets to apply for the 2017 Award. The 2017 winners were Joan Dempsey and Brian Evans-Jones. In 2019, the award selected writers from Oklahoma to admit their works, with a different state selected for different years. At the time, 40 states and Washington DC had participated.
The Amy Award edit
The Amy Award is presented to women poets age 30 and under living in the New York City metropolitan area or on Long Island. Winners receive an honorarium and a reading in New York City. The award was established by Paula Trachtman and Edward Butscher of East Hampton, New York in memory of Ms. Trachtman's daughter, Amy Rothholz, an actor and poet.
Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award edit
Established in 1996, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, which is presented at P&W's annual dinner, recognizes authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. Honorees are nominated by a committee composed of past winners, other prominent writers, and the Board of Directors of Poets & Writers. Title of the award has been given to Barnes & Noble in appreciation of their extraordinary support of Poets & Writers.
- "National Coalition Against Censorship on Twitter: "We're thrilled to welcome @poetswritersinc to the coalition!" / Twitter".
- "About the Magazine". Poets & Writers. 12 February 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- "Magazine Detail Page | Poets & Writers Magazine". www.rbdigital.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- "Poets & Writers Magazine Subscription Discount | Magazines.com". www.magazines.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- "About the Magazine". Poets & Writers. 12 February 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- Teicher, Craig Morgan. "Live from AWP: Poets & Writers Magazine Launches Digital Edition". AppNewser. Web Media Brands, Inc. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- "Jackson Poetry Prize". pw.org. Poets & Writers. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
- "Sandra Lim Wins Jackson Poetry Prize". pw.org. Poets & Writers. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
- "SONIA SANCHEZ WINS JACKSON POETRY PRIZE, $80,000 AWARD". Poets & Writers. April 26, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
- "CARL PHILLIPS WINS JACKSON POETRY PRIZE, $75,000 AWARD". Poets & Writers. May 17, 2021. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
- "ED ROBERSON WINS JACKSON POETRY PRIZE, $70,000 AWARD". Poets & Writers. May 7, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
- "JOY HARJO WINS JACKSON POETRY PRIZE". Poets & Writers. April 25, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
- "JOHN YAU WINS $60,000 JACKSON POETRY PRIZE". Poets & Writers. May 2, 2018.
- "PATRICIA SPEARS JONES WINS $50,000 JACKSON POETRY PRIZE". Poets & Writers.
- "Will Alexander Wins Jackson Poetry Prize". Poets & Writers.
- "X. J. Kennedy Wins $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize". Poets & Writers. April 7, 2015.
- Williams, John (April 21, 2014). "Claudia Rankine Wins $50,000 Poetry Prize".
- "Arthur Sze Wins Jackson Poetry Prize". Trinity University Press. April 15, 2013.
- "Henri Cole Awarded Jackson Poetry Prize". Department of English. April 6, 2012.
- "James Richardson Wins Jackson Poetry Prize". Poets & Writers.
- staff, Seattle Times (April 2, 2010). "Harryette Mullen wins $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize". The Seattle Times.
- "Linda Gregg Awarded Jackson Poetry Prize". Poets & Writers. April 22, 2009.
- "Jackson Poetry Prize". Poets & Writers. February 12, 2008.
- "Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award". Poets & Writers. February 12, 2008.
- "Two Tennessee Writers Win Poets & Writers' 2009 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award". 20 April 2009.
- "So you want to land a New York literary agent? Eight Charlotte writers tell how they did it". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- "2017 Maureen Egen WEX Award - Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance". Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. 2016-10-21. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- "Maine Writers Joan Dempsey and Brian Evans-Jones win Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award - BELFAST CREATIVE COALITION". BELFAST CREATIVE COALITION. 2017-05-31. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- "Oklahoma selected for Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award". 16 August 2019.