The Poetry Foundation has a long list of awards that it grants to poets at various stages of their career, but only a few are available to authors who haven't yet achieved a significant body of lifetime work. The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowships and the Emily Dickinson book award are really the only non-lifetime achievement recognitions they offer... until now.
The Poetry Foundation recently announced their new Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which will help expand their support not just to poets, but to the ctitics who write about them. This may be seen as a dubious development for some striving scribes, but it does enlarge the repertoire of support the Poetry Foundation offers to writers.
“This must be one of the great historical moments for poetry, as there are so many thriving poetry presses, reading series, and astonishing new poems,” said the Poetry Foundation's new president Robert Polito at the time of the announcement. “The Poetry Foundation supports poets through Poetry magazine, our website, and a Chicago reading series, among numerous other ways, both public and behind-the-scenes. But those who read our magazine or poetryfoundation.org know that we also are deeply engaged by conversations about poetry, and this award for an outstanding critical book is an exciting addition to the Pegasus roster of poetry prizes.”
This $7,500 prize will be awarded annually to the best "book-length works of criticism published in the prior calendar year, including biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets." It's hoped that this award will help foster a greater quality of critical inquiry into the lyrical arts and promote a better understanding and more visibility for poetry in general.
Publishers are encouraged to submit a title for nomination through the Poetry Foundation's online form by the first of February and mail two copies of the final book under consideration to the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60654, Attn: Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. The winners of the award will be celebrated at a ceremony in June in Chicago.