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Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition

The Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition is an annual event of Yale University Press aiming to publish the first collection of a promising American poet. The contest was founded in 1919, and is the oldest annual literary award in the United States.

Yale Series of Younger Poets
Yale Series of Younger Poets centennial logo.svg
Centennial logo[1]

CountryUnited States
PublisherYale University Press
PublishedAnnually since 1919 (1919)
No. of books114

Each year the Press publishes one book-length manuscript by an American poet who has not previously published a book of poetry. The winner receives royalties upon publication of the book. All poems must be original, and only one manuscript may be entered at a time.

The contest solidified its importance in American literature under the judgeship of Stephen Vincent Benet.[2] Benet was judge from 1933 to 1942, followed by Archibald MacLeish from 1944 to 1946. Margaret Walker's For My People was the last volume selected by Benet. Auden assumed the judgeship after MacLeish. The contest is regarded by some[3] to have been at its height from 1947 to 1959, when W. H. Auden was choosing the winners. His then-young poets included Adrienne Rich, James Wright, W. S. Merwin, John Ashbery, and John Hollander. The period was also notable for the two-time refusal of Sylvia Plath's manuscript Two Lovers,[4] and Colossus which was subsequently published in England.[3] The 1969–1977 period, overseen by Stanley Kunitz, included volumes by Carolyn Forché and Robert Hass; Hass later became the Poet Laureate of the United States. The judgeship of W. S. Merwin, from 1998 to 2003, was fraught with controversy, as he refused to select a winner the first year that he was judge. Louise Glück, who is widely considered[5] to have revived the prize's stature, judged the award from 2003 to 2010. Carl Phillips is the current judge.


Past winnersEdit

This list is taken in part from The Yale Younger Poets Anthology (1998).[6]

Year Vol. Poet Title Judge
1919 1 Howard Buck The Tempering Charlton M. Lewis
2 John C. Farrar Forgotten Shrines
1920 3 David Osborne Hamilton Four Gardens
4 Alfred Raymond Bellinger Spires and Poplars
5 Thomas Caldecot Chubb The White God and Other Poems
6 Darl MacLeod Boyle Where Lilith Dances
1921 7 Theodore H. Jr. Banks Wild Geese
8 Viola C. White Horizons
9 Hervey Allen Wampum and Old Gold
10 Oscar Williams Golden Darkness
1922 11 Harold Vinal White April
12 Medora C. Addison Dreams and a Sword
13 Bernard Raymund Hidden Waters
14 Paul Tanaquil Attitudes
1923 15 Dean B. Jr. Lyman The Last Lutanist
16 Amos Niven Wilder Battle-Retrospect
17 Marion M. Boyd Silver Wands Frederick E. Pierce
18 Beatrice E. Harmon Mosaics
1924 19 Elizabeth Jessup Blake Up and Down Edward Bliss Reed
1925 20 Dorothy E. Reid Coach into Pumpkin William Alexander Percy
1926 21 Eleanor Slater Quest
22 Thomas Hornsby Ferril High Passage
1927 23 Lindley Williams Hubbell Dark Pavilion
1928 24 Mildred Bowers Twist o' Smoke
25 Ted Olson A Stranger and Afraid
26 Francis Claiborne Mason This Unchanging Mask
1929 27 Frances M. Frost Hemlock Wall
28 Henri Faust Half-Light and Overture
1930 29 Louise Owen Virtuosa
1931 30 Dorothy Belle Flanagan (aka Dorothy B. Hughes) Dark Certainty
1932 31 Paul Engle Worn Earth
1933 32 Shirley Barker The Dark Hills Under Stephen Vincent Benét
1934 33 James Agee Permit Me Voyage
1935 34 Muriel Rukeyser Theory of Flight
1936 35 Edward Weismiller The Deer Come Down
1937 36 Margaret Haley The Gardener Mind
1938 37 Joy Davidman Letter to a Comrade
1939 38 Reuel Denney The Connecticut River and Other Poems
1940 39 Norman Rosten Return Again, Traveler
1941 40 Jeremy Ingalls The Metaphysical Sword
1942 41 Margaret Walker For My People
1943 No winner selected Archibald MacLeish
1944 42 William Morris Jr. Meredith Love Letters from an Impossible Land
1945 43 Charles E. Butler Cut Is the Branch
1946 44 Eve Merriam Family Circle
1947 45 Joan Murray Poems W. H. Auden
1948 46 Robert Horan A Beginning
1949 47 Rosalie Moore The Grasshopper's Man and Other Poems
1950 No winner selected
1951 48 Adrienne Rich A Change of World
1952 49 W. S. Merwin A Mask for Janus
1953 50 Edgar Bogardus Various Jangling Keys
1954 51 Daniel Hoffman An Armada of Thirty Whales
1955 No winner selected
1956 52 John Ashbery Some Trees
1957 53 James Wright The Green Wall
1958 54 John Hollander A Crackling of Thorns
1959 55 Dickey Of the Festivity
1960 56 George Starbuck Bone Thoughts Dudley Fitts
1961 57 Alan Dugan Poems
1962 58 Jack Gilbert Views of Jeopardy
1963 59 Sandra Hochman Manhattan Pastures
1964 60 Peter Davison The Breaking of the Day
1965 61 Jean Valentine Dream Barker
1966 No winner selected
1967 62 James Tate The Lost Pilot
1968 63 Helen Chasin Coming Close and Other Poems
1969 64 Judith Johnson Sherwin Uranium Poems
1970 65 Hugh Seidman Collecting Evidence Stanley Kunitz
1971 66 Peter Klappert Lugging Vegetables to Nantucket
1972 67 Michael Casey Obscenities
1973 68 Robert Hass Field Guide
1974 69 Michael Ryan Threats Instead of Trees
1975 70 Maura Stanton Snow on Snow
1976 71 Carolyn Forché Gathering the Tribes
1977 72 Olga Broumas Beginning with O
1978 73 Bin Ramke The Difference Between Night and Day Richard Hugo
1979 74 Leslie Ullman Natural Histories
1980 75 William Virgil Davis One Way to Reconstruct the Scene
1981 76 John Bensko Green Soldiers
1982 77 David Wojahn Icehouse Lights
1983 78 Cathy Song Picture Bride
1984 79 Richard Kenney The Evolution of the Flightless Bird James Merrill
1985 80 Pamela Alexander Navigable Waterways
1986 81 George Bradley Terms to Be Met
1987 82 Julie Agoos Above the Land
1988 83 Brigit Pegeen Kelly To the Place of Trumpets
1989 84 Thomas Bolt Out of the Woods
1990 85 Daniel Hall Hermit with Landscape
1991 86 Christiane Jacox Kyle Bears Dancing in the Northern Air James Dickey
1992 87 Nicholas Samaras Hands of the Saddlemaker
1993 88 Jody Gladding Stone Crop
1994 89 Valerie Wohlfeld Thinking the World Visible
1995 90 Tony Crunk Living in the Resurrection
1996 91 Ellen Hinsey Cities of Memory
1997 92 Talvikki Ansel My Shining Archipelago
1998 93 Craig Arnold Shells W. S. Merwin
1999 94 Davis McCombs Ultima Thule
2000 95 Maurice Manning Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions
2001 96 Sean Singer Discography
2002 97 Loren Goodman Famous Americans
2003 98 Peter Streckfus The Cuckoo
2004 99 Richard Siken Crush Louise Glück
2005 100 Jay Hopler Green Squall
2006 101 Jessica Fisher Frail-Craft
2007 102 Fady Joudah The Earth in the Attic
2008 103 Arda Collins It Is Daylight
2009 104 Ken Chen Juvenilia
2010 105 Katherine Larson Radial Symmetry
2011 106 Eduardo C. Corral Slow Lightning Carl Phillips
2012 107 Will Schutt Westerly
2013 108 Eryn Green Eruv
2014 109 Ansel Elkins Blue Yodel
2015 110 Noah Warren The Destroyer in the Glass
2016 111 Airea D. Matthews simulacra
2017 112 Duy Doan We Play a Game
2018 113 Yanyi The Year of Blue Water
2019 114 Jill Osier The Solace Is Not the Lullaby

See alsoEdit




Anon. (March 13, 2013). "Eryn Green Wins Yale Younger Poets Prize". Poets & Writers.
Anon. (February 17, 2015). "Carl Phillips Chooses Noah Warren As 2015 Yale Series Of Younger Poets Winner". Yale University Press.
Alexander, Paul (2003). Rough Magic. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81299-6.
Bradley, George, ed. (1998). The Yale Younger Poets Anthology. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07472-7 – via the Internet Archive (registration required).
Davison, Peter (June 1998). "Discovering Young Poets". The Atlantic.
Kellogg, Carolyn (March 3, 2014). "Yale Younger Poets Prize goes to Ansel Elkins". Los Angeles Times.
O'Rourke, Meghan (August 2008). "On Louise Glück and the Yale Series of Younger Poets". The Kenyon Review.
Phillips, Carl, ed. (2019). Firsts: 100 Years of Yale Younger Poets. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-24316-1 – via Google Books.

External linksEdit