Ends on

Offered since 1954, the James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. 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.

The winning poet receives a prize of $5,000, an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately one thousand Academy of American Poets members.

Submissions are accepted from January 1, 2021 to May 15, 2021. The judges for the 2021 James Laughlin Award are Mark Bibbins, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Ladan Osman.

For questions, contact awards@poets.org.


2021 James Laughlin Award Guidelines

  • The James Laughlin Award is given to honor a second full-length print book of original poetry, in English, by a living poet, forthcoming in the next calendar year.
  • Any poet who meets one of the below criteria on the date of the application deadline, in any given year, is eligible to apply: U.S. Citizen; resident of the United States for the ten-year period prior to the submission deadline, or; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Legal Permanent Status (LPS), or any subsequent categories designated by the U.S. authorities as conferring similar enhanced status upon non-citizens living in the United States.
  • To be eligible, a book must be under contract with a U.S. publisher and scheduled to be published between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Winning books must be published by December 31, 2022.
  • To be eligible, an author must have published one book of poetry in a standard edition (48 pages or more). The publication of chapbooks (less than 48 pages) does not disqualify an author.
  • Entries must be at least 48 pages total (suggested length: 48 to 100 pages).
  • Entries must be submitted in manuscript form (or page proofs) so the jury can review them without considering the books’ design. Galleys will not be accepted.
  • To submit an entry, publishers must upload a PDF copy of the manuscript to Submittable. A completed entry form via Submittable signifying the publisher’s acceptance of these guidelines is required for each title submitted.
  • There is no fee to enter.
  • The winner will be announced in September 2021.
  • The author’s name should not be included in running heads or appear on any page. Acknowledgements may be included.
  • Submissions are welcome from small presses, university presses, and trade publishers that have previously published at least four books of poetry.
  • Translations and new editions of previously published books are not eligible.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form via Submittable signifying the publisher’s acceptance of these guidelines. The winner will be announced in September.
  • The Academy of American Poets agrees to purchase approximately one thousand copies of the winning book for distribution to its members. The Academy of American Poets may purchase additional copies of the book for its own use, but not for resale. No royalties will be paid to the author on the copies purchased by the Academy of American Poets. The publisher agrees to sell to the Academy of American Poets the number of copies requested at a standard paper, printing, and binding, or at-cost discount.
  • The publisher agrees to announce and publish the winning book as the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award Winner. The publisher also agrees to include a seal on all of the books, identifying the winning book as such. The Academy of American Poets will provide the publisher with the seal design as an electronic file. Any subsequent reprintings of the book must comply with the aforementioned stipulations.
  • The decisions of the Academy of American Poets regarding eligibility are final.

Please note: By law the Academy of American Poets must report cash prizes awarded to individuals to the Internal Revenue Service. If individuals have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), the individual will receive a 1099. If the individual does not have an SSN or ITIN, the individual will receive a 1042 and could be subject to a withholding of a percentage of the cash prize.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.