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The Witter Bynner fellowship is awarded annually to two or more poets to be chosen by the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in conjunction with the Library. The fellowships support poetry on both a national and local level: the fellows are recognized at a reading in the nation’s capital and go on to organize a local poetry reading in their own communities.

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers2014 Witter Bynner Fellows

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is the author of three books of poems, including Red Clay Suite (2007), Outlandish Blues (2003) and The Gospel of Barbecue (2000). Her other honors include the 1999 Stan and Tom Wick Prize for Poetry for her first book and the 2002 Julia Peterkin Award for Poetry, as well as awards from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Rona Jaffe Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. A founding member of Cave Canem, the writer’s colony for African-American poets, Jeffers teaches at the University of Oklahoma, where she is Associate Professor of English.

James Adam York

James Adam York was the author of four books of poems, including his forthcoming book Abide (2014), as well as Persons Unknown (2010), A Murmuration of Starlings (2008), and Murder Ballads (2005). He also published a book of literary history, The Architecture of Address: The Monument and Public Speech in American Poetry (2005). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry, York also received the 2005 Elixir Prize in Poetry for his first book, the 2008 Colorado Book Award in Poetry for his second book, and the 2010 Third Coast Poetry Prize for his poem "Before Knowing Remembers." Founder of the online literary journal storySouth, as well as the online journal Thicket, York was a contributing editor for the literary journal Shenandoah.

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Full List of Previous Witter Bynner Fellows

  • 2014: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and James Adam York (appointed by Natasha Trethewey)
  • 2013: Sharon Dolin and Shara McCallum (appointed by Natasha Trethewey)
  • 2012: L.S. Asekoff and Sheila Black (appointed by Philip Levine)
  • 2011: Forrest Gander and Robert Bringhurst (appointed by W. S. Merwin)
  • 2010: Jill McDonough and Atsuro Riley (appointed by Kay Ryan)
  • 2009: Christina Davis and Mary Szybist (appointed by Kay Ryan)
  • 2008: Matthew Thorburn and Monica Youn (appointed by Stanley Kunitz)
  • 2007: Laurie Lamon and David Tucker (appointed by Donald Hall)
  • 2006: Joseph Stroud and Connie Wanek (appointed by Ted Kooser)
  • 2005: Claudia Emerson, Martin Walls (appointed by Ted Kooser)
  • 2004: Dana Levin, Spencer Reece (appointed by Louise Glück)
  • 2003: Major Jackson, Rebecca Wee (appointed by Billy Collins)
  • 2002: George Bilgere, Katia Kopovich (appointed by Billy Collins)
  • 2001: Tory Dent, Nick Flynn (appointed by Stanley Kunitz)
  • 2000: Naomi Shihab Nye, Joshua Weiner (appointed by Robert Pinsky)
  • 1999: David Gewanter, Campbell McGrath, Heather McHugh (appointed by Robert Pinsky)
  • 1998: Carol Muske-Dukes, Carl Phillips (appointed by Robert Pinsky)