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2016 Prizes for Contributors to Poetry Announced

Eight prizes awarded to poets, critics, and essayists featured in the magazine over the past year
August 1, 2016

CHICAGO – Poetry magazine awards eight annual prizes for the best work published in Poetry during the past 12 months. C.D. Wright, Aracelis Girmay, Hai-Dang Phan, John Murillo, Julia Guez, Samantha Zighelboim, Heather Phillipson, Garrett Caples, and Jim Johnstone will receive the 2016 prizes for their poems, translations and prose in Poetry.

"Poetry offers a series of annual prizes for poets, critics, and translators whose transcendent work upholds and often exceeds its historical standards,” said Don Share, editor. “Like contemporary poetry itself, our list of prizewinners has grown strikingly more impressive and diverse over time."

THE LEVINSON PRIZE, presented annually since 1914 through the generosity of the late Salmon O. Levinson and his family, in the amount of $500, is awarded to C.D. Wright for “The Obscure Lives of Poets” from the February 2016 issue. The oldest of the magazine’s prizes still awarded today, the Levinson Prize has been awarded to such great poets as Wallace Stevens (1920), Edna St. Vincent Millay (1931), H.D. (1938), E.E. Cummings (1939), Dylan Thomas (1945), Muriel Rukeyser (1947), John Berryman (1950), William Carlos Williams (1954), Anne Sexton (1962), John Ashbery (1977), Yusef Komunyakaa (1997) and Rita Dove (1998).

THE BESS HOKIN PRIZE, established in 1948 through the generosity of Poetry’s late friend and guarantor Mrs. David Hokin, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded to Aracelis Girmay for her poems “to the sea,” “The Black Maria,” and “luam/asa-luam” published in the April 2016 issue. Past winners of the Bess Hokin Prize include Ruth Stone (1953), Sylvia Plath (1957), W.S. Merwin (1962), Adrienne Rich (1963), Margaret Atwood (1974) and Claudia Rankine (2014).

THE FREDERICK BOCK PRIZE, founded in 1981 by friends in memory of the former associate editor of Poetry, in the amount of $500, is awarded to Hai-Dang Phan for “My Father’s ‘Norton Introduction to Literature,’ Third Edition (1981)” from the November 2015 issue. Past winners of the Frederick Bock Prize include Billy Collins (1992), Jane Kenyon (1993) and A.E. Stallings (2004).

THE J. HOWARD AND BARBARA M.J. WOOD PRIZE, endowed since 1994, in the amount of $5,000, is awarded to John Murillo for “Upon Reading That Eric Dolphy Transcribed Even the Calls of Certain Species of Birds,” in the February 2016 issue. Past winners of the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize include Charles Wright (1996) and Franz Wright (2011).

THE JOHN FREDERICK NIMS MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR TRANSLATION, established in 1999 by Bonnie Larkin Nims, trustees of the Poetry Foundation, and friends of the late poet, translator and editor, in the amount of $1000, is awarded to Julia Guez and Samantha Zighelboim for their translation of Luis Chaves’s poem “Equestrian Monuments (A Litany)” in the October 2015 issue. The 2016 Award amount was doubled from $500 to $1,000 due to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

THE FRIENDS OF LITERATURE PRIZE, established in 2002 by the Friends of Literature, in the amount of $500, is awarded to Heather Phillipson for “more flinching”  in the June 2016 issue.

THE EDITORS PRIZE FOR FEATURE ARTICLE, established in 2005, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded to Garrett Caples for his introduction to “The Lives of Frank Lima” in the November 2015 issue.

THE EDITORS PRIZE FOR REVIEWING, established in 2004, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded to Jim Johnstone for his review “In Transit: The Poetry of Karen Solie” in the October 2015 issue.

The prizes are organized and administered by the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, publisher of Poetry magazine. Browse all past issues of Poetry magazine since 1912.


About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About Poetry magazine

Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.  

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