|The Walt Whitman Award|
|Awarded for||Encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet’s first book|
|Presented by||Academy of American Poets|
The Walt Whitman Award is a poetry award administered by the Academy of American Poets. Named after poet Walt Whitman, the award is based on a competition of book-length poetry manuscripts by American poets who have not yet published a book. It has been described as "a transformative honor that includes publication and distribution of the book though the Academy, $5,000 in cash and an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in the Umbrian region of Italy. The Library of Congress includes the Award among distinctions noted for poets, as does The New York Times, which also occasionally publishes articles about new awards.
The award was established in 1975. In a New York Times opinion piece from 1985, the novelist John Barth noted that 1475 manuscripts had been entered into one of the Whitman Award competitions, which exceeded the number of subscribers to some poetry journals. Since 1992, Louisiana State University Press has published each volume as part of its "Walt Whitman Award Series"; the Academy purchases and distributes copies to its associate members, along with copies of the winning volume for the James Laughlin Award. Since the academy buys 6,000 copies for its members, and the average print run for a poet's first book is 3,000 copies, a Whitman Award guarantees a best seller in the tiny poetry market.
|2020||Threa Almontaser||The Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf Press)||Harryette Mullen|
|2019||Leah Naomi Green||The More Extravagant Feast (Graywolf Press)||Li-Young Lee|
|2018||Emily Skaja||Brute (Graywolf Press)||Joy Harjo|
|2017||Jenny Xie||Eye Level (Graywolf Press)||Juan Felipe Herrera|
|2016||Mai Der Vang||Afterland (Graywolf Press)||Carolyn Forché|
|2015||Sjohnna McCray||Rapture (Graywolf Press)||Tracy K. Smith|
|2014||Hannah Sanghee Park||The Same-Different (LSU Press)||Rae Armantrout|
|2013||Chris Hosea||Put Your Hands In (LSU Press)||John Ashbery|
|2012||Matt Rasmussen||Black Aperture (LSU Press)||Jane Hirshfield|
|2011||Elana Bell||Eyes, Stones (LSU Press)||Fanny Howe|
|2010||Carl Adamshick||Curses and Wishes (LSU Press)||Marvin Bell|
|2009||J. Michael Martinez||Heredities (LSU Press)||Juan Felipe Herrera|
|2008||Jonathan Thirkield||The Waker's Corridor (LSU Press)||Linda Bierds|
|2007||Sally Van Doren||Sex at Noon Taxes (LSU Press)||August Kleinzahler|
|2006||Anne Pierson Wiese||Floating City (LSU Press)||Kay Ryan|
|2005||Mary Rose O'Reilley||Half Wild (LSU Press)||Mary Oliver|
|2004||Geri Doran||Resin (LSU Press)||Henri Cole|
|2003||Tony Tost||Invisible Bride (LSU Press)||Carolyn D. Wright|
|2002||Sue Kwock Kim||Notes from the Divided Country (LSU Press)||Yusef Komunyakaa|
|2001||John Canaday||The Invisible World (LSU Press)||Sherod Santos|
|2000||Ben Doller||Radio, Radio (LSU Press)||Susan Howe|
|1999||Judy Jordan||Carolina Ghost Woods (LSU Press)||James Tate|
|1998||Jan Heller Levi||Once I Gazed at You in Wonder (LSU Press)||Alice Fulton|
|1997||Barbara Ras||Bite Every Sorrow (LSU Press)||C. K. Williams|
|1996||Joshua Clover||Madonna anno domini (LSU Press)||Jorie Graham|
|1995||Nicole Cooley||Resurrection (LSU Press)||Cynthia Macdonald|
|1994||Jan Richman||Because the Brain Can Be Talked into Anything (LSU Press)||Robert Pinsky|
|1993||Alison Hawthorne Deming||Science and Other Poems (LSU Press)||Gerald Stern|
|1992||Stephen Yenser||The Fire in All Things (LSU Press)||Richard Howard|
|1991||Greg Glazner||From the Iron Chair (W. W. Norton)||Charles Wright|
|1990||Elaine Terranova||The Cult of the Right Hand (Doubleday)||Rita Dove|
|1989||Martha Hollander||The Game of Statues (Atlantic Monthly Press)||W.S. Merwin|
|1988||April Bernard||Blackbird Bye Bye (Random House)||Amy Clampitt|
|1987||Judith Baumel||The Weight of Numbers (Wesleyan U. Press)||Mona Van Duyn|
|1986||Chris Llewellyn||Fragments from the Fire (Viking)||Maxine Kumin|
|1985||Christianne Balk||Bindweed (Macmillan)||Anthony Hecht|
|1984||Eric Pankey||For the New Year (Atheneum)||Mark Strand|
|1983||Christopher Gilbert||Across the Mutual Landscape (Graywolf Press)||Michael S. Harper|
|1982||Anthony Petrosky||Jurgis Petraskas (Louisiana State University Press)||Philip Levine|
|1981||Alberto Ríos||Whispering to Fool the Wind (Sheep Meadow Press)||Donald Justice|
|1980||Jared Carter||Work, for the Night is Coming (Macmillan)||Galway Kinnell|
|1979||David Bottoms||Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump (Morrow)||Robert Penn Warren|
|1978||Karen Snow||Wonders (Viking)||Louis Simpson|
|1977||Lauren Shakely||Guilty Bystander (Random House)||Diane Wakoski|
|1976||Laura Crafton Gilpin||The Hocus-Pocus of the Universe (Doubleday)||William Stafford|
|1975||Reg Saner||Climbing into the Roots (Harper & Row)||William Meredith|
- Nancy Breen, ed. (2007). 2008 Poet's Market. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books. p. 412. ISBN 978-1-58297-499-6.
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- ALAN WILLIAMSON (June 23, 1985). "LOSS, DISCOVERY AND OTHER URGENIES". The New York Times.
- "Poetry Prize". The Luddington Daily News. June 13, 1980.
- THOMAS LASK (April 14, 1978). "Publishing: Award For 'New' Poet, 54". The New York Times.