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James Laughlin Award

The James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support a poet's second book. It is the only second-book award for poetry in the United States. Offered since 1954, 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.

Only manuscripts already under contract with publishers are considered for the James Laughlin Award. The Academy awards the winning poet a cash prize of $5,000 and purchases copies of the book for distribution to its members.

Submissions are accepted each year from January 1 to May 15. An entry form, signed by the publisher, is required. To obtain the guidelines and an entry form for the James Laughlin Award, please follow the link below or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Academy in January. Winners are announced in August.

Guidelines and Entry Form

Winners & Judges

Year Poet Title Judges
2008 Rusty Morrison the true keeps calm biding its story Rae Armantrout, Claudia Rankine, Bruce Smith
2007 Brenda Shaughnessy Human Dark with Sugar Peter Gizzi, Matthea Harvey, Caroline Knox
2006 Tracy K. Smith Duende Elizabeth Alexander, Kimiko Hahn, Terrance Hayes
2005 Barbara Jane Reyes Poeta en San Francisco James Longenbach, Susan Stewart, Elizabeth Alexander
2004 Jeff Clark Music and Suicide Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Jo Bang, Susan Stewart
2003 Vijay Seshadri The Long Meadow Mary Jo Bang, Thom Gunn, Campbell McGrath
2002 Karen Volkman Spar Mary Jo Bang, Daniel Hall, Campbell McGrath
2001 Peter Johnson Miracles & Mortifications Daniel Hall, Campbell McGrath, Marilyn Nelson
2000 Liz Waldner A Point Is That Which Has No Part Agha Shahid Ali, Lynn Emanuel, Marilyn Nelson
1999 Tory Dent HIV, Mon Amour Lynn Emanuel, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marilyn Nelson
1998 Sandra Alcosser Except by Nature Lynn Emanuel, Yusef Komunyakaa, David St. John
1997 Tony Hoagland Donkey Gospel Yusef Komunyakaa, Heather McHugh, William Matthews
1996 David Rivard Wise Poison Heather McHugh, William Matthews, David St. John
1995 Ralph Angel Neither World Richard Kenney, Heather McHugh, David St. John
1994 Brigit Pegeen Kelly Song Jorie Graham, Richard Kenney, David St. John
1993 Rosanna Warren Stained Glass Amy Clampitt, Jorie Graham, Richard Kenney
1992 Kathryn Stripling Byer Wildwood Flower Lucille Clifton, Jorie Graham, Robert Morgan
1991 Susan Wood Campo Santo Marvin Bell, Lucille Clifton, Robert Morgan
1990 Li-Young Lee The City in Which I Love You Marvin Bell, Sandra McPherson, Robert Morgan
1989 Minnie Bruce Pratt Crime Against Nature Marvin Bell, Alfred Corn, Sandra McPherson
1988 Mary Jo Salter Unfinished Painting Alfred Corn, Sandra McPherson, Mary Oliver
1987 Garrett Kaoru Hongo The River of Heaven Philip Booth, Alfred Corn, Mary Oliver
1986 Jane Shore The Minute Hand Philip Booth, Louise Gl�ck, Mary Oliver
1985 Cornelius Eady Victims of the Latest Dance Craze Philip Booth, Louise Gl�ck, Charles Simic
1984 Philip Schultz Deep Within the Ravine Louise Gl�ck, Charles Simic, David Wagoner
1983 Sharon Olds The Dead and the Living June Jordan, Charles Simic, David Wagoner
1982 Margaret Gibson Long Walks in the Afternoon June Jordan, Richard Shelton, David Wagoner
1981 Carolyn Forch� The Country Between Us William Harmon, June Jordan, Richard Shelton
1980 Michael Van Walleghen More Trouble with the Obvious William Harmon, Maxine Kumin, Richard Shelton
1979 Frederick Seidel Sunrise William Harmon, Maxine Kumin
1978 Ai Killing Floor Maxine Kumin, Philip Levine, Charles Wright
1977 Gerald Stern Lucky Life Alan Dugan, Philip Levine, Charles Wright
1976 Larry Levis The Afterlife Alan Dugan, Michael Harper, Philip Levine
1975 Lisel Mueller The Private Life Alan Dugan, John Haines, Michael Harper
1974 John Balaban After Our War John Haines, Michael Harper, Mona Van Duyn
1973 Marilyn Hacker Presentation Piece John Haines, Richard Howard, Mona Van Duyn
1972 Peter Everwine Collecting the Animals Michael Benedikt, Richard Howard, Mona Van Duyn
1971 Stephen Dobyns Concurring Beasts Michael Benedikt, Richard Howard, James Merrill
1970 William Harmon Treasury Holiday Michael Benedikt, Hayden Carruth, Richard Hugo, Donald Justice, James Merrill
1969 Marvin Bell A Probable Volume of Dreams Hayden Carruth, Donald Hall, Richard Hugo, Donald Justice, James Merrill
1968 Jane Cooper The Weather of Six Mornings Hayden Carruth, Donald Hall, Donald Justice, William Stafford, James Wright
1967 James Scully The Marches James Dickey, Donald Hall, Anthony Hecht, William Stafford, James Wright
1966 Kenneth O. Hanson The Distance Anywhere James Dickey, Anthony Hecht, William Stafford, May Swenson, James Wright
1965 Henri Coulette The War of the Secret Agents James Dickey, Anthony Hecht, Louis Simpson, W. D. Snodgrass, May Swenson
1964 Adrien Stoutenberg Heroes, Advise Us Thomas Hornsby Ferril, William Meredith, Louis Simpson, William Jay Smith, May Swenson
1963 No award Thomas Hornsby Ferril, William Jay Smith
1962 Edward Field Stand Up, Friend, With Me Edward Davison, Babette Deutsch, Thomas Hornsby Ferril, William Jay Smith, Mark Van Doren
1961 X. J. Kennedy Nude Descending a Staircase Edward Davison, Babette Deutsch, Paul Engle, William Jay Smith
1960 Robert Mezey The Lovemaker Edward Davison, Babette Deutsch, Paul Engle, Louis Untermeyer, Robert Penn Warren
1959 Donald Justice The Summer Anniversaries Rosemary Ben�t, Richard Eberhart, Paul Engle, Louise Townsend Nicholl, Robert Penn Warren
1958 Ned O'Gorman The Night of the Hammer Rosemary Ben�t, Richard Eberhart, Louise Townsend Nicholl, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur
1957 Daniel Berrigan, S. J. Time Without Number Rosemary Ben�t, Richard Eberhart, John Holmes, Louise Townsend Nicholl, Richard Wilbur
1956 Philip Booth Letter from a Distant Land Louise Bogan, John Holmes, Rolfe Humphries, May Sarton, Richard Wilbur
1955 Donald Hall Exiles and Marriages Louise Bogan, John Holmes, Rolfe Humphries, Randall Jarrell, May Sarton
1954 Constance Carrier The Middle Voice Louise Bogan, Rolfe Humphries, Randall Jarrell, May Sarton, Mark Van Doren


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