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PEN/Voelcker Award ($5,000)

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, established by a bequest from Hunce Voelcker, this award is given to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature. The poet honored by the award is one for whom the exceptional promise seen in earlier work has been fulfilled, and who continues to mature with each successive volume of poetry. The award is given in even-numbered years and carries a stipend of $5,000.


Past Winners:Jane Kenyon, Franz Wright, C.K. Williams, Heather McHugh, Frederick Seidel, Robert Pinsky, Linda Gregg, Kimiko Hahn, Marilyn Hacker, Toi Derricotte, and Frank Bidart.


Eligibility and Submissions for the 2016 Awards


Please check back in mid-2015 for submissions details for the 2016 award.

Who is eligible

There are no restrictions as to the age of the poet or to the style of his or her work. The award is judged by a panel of three to five poets or other writers whose tastes and knowledge of contemporary American poetry are wide-ranging and thorough.

How to apply

Candidates can be nominated for the PEN/Voelcker Award only by Members of PEN. All letters of nomination (one to two pages is expected) should describe the scope and literary caliber of the candidate's work, and summarize the candidate's publications. Most importantly, nominations should articulate the degree of accomplishment the nominated poet has attained, and the esteem in which the candidate's work is held within the American literary community. It is understood that all nominations made for the PEN/Voelcker Award supplement internal nominations made by the panel of judges.

Send letters of nomination between October 1, 2015 and December 16, 2015 to:
PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry
PEN American Center 
588 Broadway, Suite 303 
New York, NY 10012
          or to awards@pen.org