The quarterly editor . . . must become a first-rate critic in the act of organizing his material, four times a year, into coherent criticism.— Allen Tate

Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry

Aiken Taylor Conrad Aiken. Image courtesy of the NYPL digital collection.

The most significant prize administered by the Sewanee Review is the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry. It was made possible through the generous bequest of Dr. K. P. A. Taylor, a surgeon who was an excellent amateur poet, to celebrate distinguished American poets, especially his older brother Conrad Aiken.

Click here to view previous winners


Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry

Aiken Taylor Dr. K. P. A. Taylor. Image courtesy of the NYPL digital collection.

Each year the Sewanee Review bestows the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry to a particularly distinguished and important contemporary American poet. It is the most significant prize administered by the SR, and It has been our honor to give this award to poets like Richard Wilbur, Howard Nemerov, Marie Ponsot and Louise Glück, who mean so much to the Review and to the literary world at large. But all of this would be impossible without the generous bequest of Dr. K. P. A. Taylor. Dr. Taylor was an accomplished surgeon and an excellent amateur poet. With his bequest he wished to celebrate distinguished American poets, especially his older brother Conrad Aiken, an important figure in the modernist movement. You can read a fuller biography and sample Dr. Taylor's poetry here.

Click here to view previous winners

Previous Aiken Taylor Award Winners

1987  •   Howard Nemerov (1920–1991)
1988  •   Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)
1989  •   Anthony Hecht (1923–2004)
1990  •   W. S. Merwin (b.1927)
1991  •   John Frederick Nims (1913–1993)
1992  •   Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000)
1993  •   George Starbuck (1931–1996)
1994  •   Wendell Berry (b.1934)
1995  •   Maxine Kumin (1925–2014)
1996  •   Fred Chappell (b.1936)
1997  •   Carolyn Kizer (b.1925)
1998  •   X. J. Kennedy (b.1929)
1999  •   George Garrett (1929–2008)
2000  •   Eleanor Ross Taylor (1920–2011)
2001  •   Frederick Morgan (1922–2004)
2002  •   Grace Schulman (b.1935)
2003  •   Daniel Hoffman (1923-2013)
2004  •   Henry Taylor (b.1942)
2005  •   B. H. Fairchild (b.1942)
2006  •   Brendan Galvin (b.1938) 
2007  •   Anne Stevenson (b.1933)
2008  •   John Haines (1924-2011)
2009  •   Donald Hall (b.1928) 
2010  •   Louise Glück (b.1943) 
2011  •   Billy Collins (b. 1941) 
2012  •   Debora Greger (b.1949) click here to listen
2013  •   William Logan (b. 1950) click here to listen
2014  •   Dana Gioia (b. 1950) 
2015  •   Marie Ponsot (b. 1921) click here to listen