James Laughlin Award

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Offered since 1954, the James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. The award was endowed in 1995 by a gift to the Academy from the Drue Heinz Trust. It is named for the poet and publisher James Laughlin (1914-1997), who founded New Directions in 1936.

The winner receives a prize of $5,000, an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately one thousand Academy of American Poets members.

Submissions are accepted January 1 through May 15 each year. The judges for the 2019 James Laughlin Award are Gillian ConoleyFady Joudah and Cole Swensen. Postmark deadline: May 15.


entry form


previous winners

yearsort ascending poet title
2018 Geffrey Davis Night Angler
2017 sam sax Bury It
2016 Mary Hickman Rayfish
2015 Kathryn Nuernberger The End of Pink
2014 Brian Blanchfield A Several World
2013 Jillian Weise The Book of Goodbyes
2012 Catherine Barnett The Game of Boxes
2011 Anna Moschovakis You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake
2010 Michael Dickman Flies
2009 Jennifer K. Sweeney How to Live on Bread and Music
2008 Rusty Morrison the true keeps calm biding its story
2007 Brenda Shaughnessy Human Dark with Sugar
2006 Tracy K. Smith Duende
2005 Barbara Jane Reyes Poeta en San Francisco
2004 Jeff Clark Music and Suicide
2003 Vijay Seshadri The Long Meadow
2002 Karen Volkman Spar
2001 Peter Johnson Miracles & Mortifications
2000 Liz Waldner A Point Is That Which Has No Part
1999 Tory Dent HIV, Mon Amour
1998 Sandra Alcosser Except by Nature
1997 Tony Hoagland Donkey Gospel
1996 David Rivard Wise Poison
1995 Ralph Angel Neither World
1994 Brigit Pegeen Kelly Song
1993 Rosanna Warren Stained Glass
1992 Kathryn Stripling Byer Wildwood Flower
1991 Susan Wood Campo Santo
1990 Li-Young Lee The City in Which I Love You
1989 Minnie Bruce Pratt Crime Against Nature
1988 Mary Jo Salter Unfinished Painting
1987 Garrett Hongo The River of Heaven
1986 Jane Shore The Minute Hand
1985 Cornelius Eady Victims of the Latest Dance Craze
1984 Philip Schultz Deep Within the Ravine
1983 Sharon Olds The Dead and the Living
1982 Margaret Gibson Long Walks in the Afternoon
1981 Carolyn Forché The Country Between Us
1980 Michael Van Walleghen More Trouble with the Obvious
1979 Frederick Seidel Sunrise
1978 Ai Killing Floor
1977 Gerald Stern Lucky Life
1976 Larry Levis The Afterlife
1975 Lisel Mueller The Private Life
1974 John Balaban After Our War
1973 Marilyn Hacker Presentation Piece
1972 Peter Everwine Collecting the Animals
1971 Stephen Dobyns Concurring Beasts
1970 William Harmon Treasury Holiday
1969 Marvin Bell A Probable Volume of Dreams
1968 Jane Cooper The Weather of Six Mornings
1967 James Scully The Marches
1966 Kenneth O. Hanson The Distance Anywhere
1965 Henri Coulette The War of the Secret Agents
1964 Adrien Stoutenberg Heroes, Advise Us
1963 None
1962 Edward Field Stand Up, Friend, With Me
1961 X. J. Kennedy Nude Descending a Staircase
1960 Robert Mezey The Lovemaker
1959 Donald Justice The Summer Anniversaries
1958 Ned O'Gorman The Night of the Hammer
1957 Daniel Berrigan Time Without Number
1956 Philip Booth Letter from a Distant Land
1955 Donald Hall Exiles and Marriages
1954 Constance Carrier The Middle Voice