About Us

Mission

The Poetry Society of America’s mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, to support poets through an array of programs and awards, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life.

Over A Century

October 10, 1910

First formal meeting of the Poetry Society of America held in New York at the National Arts Club. Forty of the country's leading poets and writers enroll as charter members.

1911

Ezra Pound attends a meeting on the eve of his journey to England.

1913

W.B. Yeats appears before the Society meeting and chants "The Dream of Wandering Aengus" to an enthralled audience.

March, 1915

Amy Lowell expounds her ideas on imagism before the Society.

1918

Board President Edward J. Wheeler finds a New York City patron of art who donates $500 to establish the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

1922

Edwin Arlington Robinson wins the PSA $500 Annual Book Award for his Collected Poems.

1925

Countee Cullen is the recipient of the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Award. Langston Hughes wins the following year.

1929

The PSA Shelley Memorial Award is established. The first winner is Conrad Aiken.

1938

Padraic Colum is elected President of the Board of Governors.

1940

Robert Frost is announced as the Honorary President of the Society. Marianne Moore wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1943

The Gold Medal is awarded to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

1944

E. E. Cummings is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award.

1951

Wallace Stevens receives the Gold Medal.

1952

Elizabeth Bishop wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1957

Richard Wilbur is the recipient of the PSA Millay Award. Randall Jarrell appears before the Society at the annual dinner.

1961

Theodore Roethke wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1968

Jean Garrigue wins the PSA Melville Cane award for her New and Selected Poems.

1975

Gwendolyn Brooks wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1985

William Matthews is elected President of the Board of Governors. Robert Pinsky is the recipient of the William Carlos Williams Award.

1992

Molly Peacock, Board President, and Elise Paschen, Executive Director, inspired by the London program, Poems on the Underground, establish a similar program in New York City, Poetry in Motion®.

1999

Hettie Jones wins the Norma Farber First Book Award.

2001

William Louis-Dreyfus is elected President of the Board of Governors. Alice Quinn is appointed Executive Director. Sonia Sanchez is awarded the Frost Medal.

November, 2001

"In a Time of Crisis," a reading of poems at Cooper Union following the September 11th attacks, draws an audience of 900 and is featured in The New York Times.

2002

The PSA Chapbook Fellowship Program is established.

2003

The biennial PSA Festival of New American Poets is established. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the Frost Medalist.

2005

The PSA's 95th anniversary dinner at the Pierre Hotel features the living U. S. Poets Laureate.

2007

Ruth Kaplan is elected President of the Board of Governors.

2008

Michael S. Harper receives the Frost Medal.

2010

Lucille Clifton is chosen as the PSA's Centennial Frost Medalist.

2016

Kimiko Hahn is elected President of the Board of Governors.

2017

Launched the inaugural Four Quartets Prize for a unified and complete sequence of poems with a prize of $20,000.

2018

Introduced the Anna Rabinowitz Prize for interdisciplinary work. Partnered with Citymeals on "Poems on Wheels" which delivers poems to the elderly.

2019

PSA honors Paul Simon for his influential and iconic songwriting and Alice Quinn for holding poetry aloft throughout her remarkable career as Executive Director of the PSA.