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The biennial, privately funded $10,000 prize recognizes the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years. The prize is donated by the family of the late Mrs. Bobbitt of Austin, Tex., in her memory, and established at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is accepting nominations from publishers for the $10,000 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. Applications must be submitted electronically to [email protected] by July 15, 2020.

Jorie GrahamJorie Graham
2018 Bobbitt Prize Winner

2018 Bobbitt Prize Winner

Jorie Graham, Book Prize for Fast
Jorie Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Fast (2017); From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 (2015); the Forward Prize-winning and T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated Place (2012); and The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1996. She has also edited two anthologies, Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990. Graham’s honors include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She is the recipient of the 2017 Wallace Stevens Award, the Nonino Prize in 2013 and the LA Times Book Award Prize in Poetry in 2016 for “From the New World.” Graham is a former chancellor of The Academy of American Poets (1997-2003) and longtime faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is currently the Boylston Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric at Harvard University, a position first held by John Quincy Adams in 1806.

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Full List of Bobbitt Prize Winners

  • 2018: Jorie Graham for Fast
  • 2016: Nathaniel Mackey for Lifetime Achievement and Claudia Rankine for Citizen: An American Lyric
  • 2014: Patricia Smith for Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
  • 2012: Gerald Stern for Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992
  • 2010: Lucia Perillo for Inseminating the Elephant
  • 2008: Charles Wright for Lifetime Achievement and Bob Hicok for This Clumsy Living
  • 2006: W.S. Merwin for Present Company
  • 2004: B.H. Fairchild for Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
  • 2002: Alice Fulton for Felt
  • 2000: David Ferry for Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations
  • 1998: Frank Bidart for Desire
  • 1996: Kenneth Koch for One Train
  • 1994: A.R. Ammons for Garbage
  • 1992: Louise Gl├╝ck for Ararat and Mark Strand for The Continuous Life
  • 1990: James Merrill for The Inner Room