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Encyclopedia > Bollingen Prize for Poetry

The Bollingen Prize, awarded every two years by the Bollingen Foundation, is a prestigious literary honor bestowed on a poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement. It rewards a cash prize, currently $25,000.


The prize was first conceived and funded by a $10,000 grant from the Bollingen Foundation to the Library of Congress in 1948. The inaugural prize, chosen by a jury of Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress, was awarded to Ezra Pound for his famous collection of poems entitled The Pisan Cantos. This choice of a work by a committed Fascist sympathizer infuriated many people in Cold War America, and political pressure led Congress to end the Library of Congress involvement in the program and return the unused portion of the grant to the Bollingen Foundation in 1949. The Bollingen Foundation decided to continue the program, with the administrative tasks being handled by the Yale University Library. The prize was awarded annually from 1948 to 1963, and biennially from 1965 to present.

In 1961 a similar prize was set up by the Bollingen Foundation for best translation and it was won by Robert Fitzgerald for his translation of the Iliad. It has also been won by Walter Arndt for his translation of Eugene Onegin, and in 1963 by Richard Wilbur and ??? jointly.


1949 Ezra Pound
1950 Wallace Stevens
1951 John Crowe Ransom
1952 Marianne Moore
1953 Archibald MacLeish and William Carlos Williams
1954 W. H. Auden
1955 Léonie Adams and Louise Bogan
1956 Conrad Aiken
1957 Allen Tate
1958 E. E. Cummings
1959 Theodore Roethke
1960 Delmore Schwartz
1961 Yvor Winters
1962 John Hall Wheelock and Richard Eberhart
1963 Robert Frost
1965 Horace Gregory
1967 Robert Penn Warren
1969 John Berryman and Karl Shapiro
1971 Richard Wilbur and Mona Van Duyn
1973 James Merrill
1975 Archie Randolph Ammons
1977 David Ignatow
1979 W. S. Merwin
1981 Howard Nemerov and May Swenson
1983 Anthony Hecht and John Hollander
1985 John Ashbery and Fred Chappell
1987 Stanley Kunitz
1989 Edgar Bowers
1991 Laura Riding Jackson and Donald Justice
1993 Mark Strand
1995 Kenneth Koch
1997 Gary Snyder
1999 Robert Creeley
2001 Louise Gluck
2003 Adrienne Rich

  Results from FactBites:
Bollingen Prize in Poetry - Table - MSN Encarta (44 words)
Bollingen Prize in Poetry - Table - MSN Encarta
This U.S. poetry prize of $25,000 is awarded biennially.
It is administered by Yale University and the Bollingen Foundation.
Poet Laureate Timeline - Poetry (Library of Congress) (918 words)
He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for "Lord Weary's Castle." Lowell's style was rigorously formal, until he loosened his adherence to meter and form with "Life Studies," which received the National Book Award in 1960.
His poetry, which explored themes of psychology and development of identity, won many prizes, including the Pulitzer in 1930 for "Selected Poems," the National Book Award in 1954 for "Collected Poems," and the Bollingen Prize.
Jarrell was known for his essays and poetry criticism, regarded as engaging and dazzling and instrumental in establishing Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop and William Carlos Williams as significant American poets.
  More results at FactBites »



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