The National Book Award - Poetry

The National Book Awards are awarded annually for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young people's literature. It is sponsored by the National Book Foundation, a consortium of publishing groups.
Award Year Authors(s) Title
2011 Nikky Finney Head Off & Split A collection of poems by the author.
2010 Terrance Hayes Lighthead The fourth collection by the author portrays the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time.
2009 Keith Waldrop Transcendental Studies This compelling selection of recent work by internationally celebrated poet Keith Waldrop presents three related poem sequences--"Shipwreck in Haven," "Falling in Love through a Description," and "The Plummet of Vitruvius"--in a virtuosic poetic triptych.
2008 Mark Doty Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems Elegant, plain-spoken, and unflinching, Mark Doty's poems in Fire to Fire gently invite us to share their ferocious compassion.
2007 Robert Hass Time and Materials In his first poetry collection in a decade, former poet laureate Hass is in great form, simultaneously blithe and commanding.
2006 Nathaniel Mackey Splay Anthem Part antiphonal rant, part rhythmic whisper, Nathaniel Mackey's new collection of poems, Splay Anthem, takes the reader to uncharted poetic spaces.
2005 W.S. Merwin Migration: New and Selected Poems The definitive volume by one of America's greatest poets.
2004 Jean Valentine Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 Includes all of Valentine's published poems.
2003 C.K. Williams The Singing C. K. Williams treats the characteristic subjects of a poet's maturity -- the loss of friends, the love of grandchildren, the receding memories of childhood, the baffling illogic of current events -- with an intensity and drive that recall not only his recent work but also his early books, published forty years ago.
2002 Ruth Stone In the Next Galaxy In this, her eighth volume, she writes with crackling intelligence, interrogating history from the vantage point of an aging and impoverished woman. Wise, sardonic, crafty, and misleadingly simple, Stone loves heavy themes but loathes heavy poems.
2001 Alan Dugan Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry In this collection chronicling a 40-year career and its shifting concerns, Alan Dugan adds to his body of work with nearly three dozen new poems. Eloquent, blunt, funny, or bitter, the poet comments on every facet of life.
2000 Lucille Clifton Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 Clifton employs brilliantly honed language, stunning images and sharp rhythms to address the whole of human experience: birth, death, children, family, illness, sexuality, spirituality and injustice in antebellum and contemporary America. Hers is a poetry that is passionate and wise, not afraid to rage or whisper.
1999 Ai Vice: New and Selected Poems Ai's world desire has no boundaries. Known as the foremost poet of urban terror, part African American, Asian American, and Native American, Ai takes the reader on a journey into the heart, torn from the bared chests of the living and sacrificed to the ravenous dead.
1998 Gerald Stern This Time: New and Selected Poems An exhilarating new collection by the poet often applauded as the modern Walt Whitman. Poems in this substantial volume, many of which are no longer available in other editions, have been selected from seven previous collections (1972-1995). Along with these favorite poems redeemed, Gerald Stern offers a generous array of new work.
1997 William Meredith Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems
1996 Hayden Carruth Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995
1995 Stanley Kunitz Passing Through
1994 James Tate Worshipful Company of Fletchers A great new collection of poems by the 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winner. Tate may just be our greatest poet, or at least our most interesting.
1993 A.R. Ammons Garbage A. R. Ammons, one of America's greatest living poets, uses an unlikely subject - garbage - as the occasion for a profound and often funny meditation on nature and mutability.
1992 Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems
1991 Philip Levine What Work Is
1990 No Award Given
1989 No Award Given
1988 No Award Given
1987 No Award Given
1986 No Award Given
1985 No Award Given
1984 Charles Wright Country Music A compilation of powerful and moving poems from early in the poet's career.
1983 Galway Kinnell Selected Poems Includes fifty representative poems selected from six earlier collections.
1982 William Bronk Life Supports
1981 Lisel Mueller The Need to Hold Still
1980 Philip Levine Ashes
1979 James Merrill Mirabell: Books of Number
1978 Howard Nemerov The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov
1977 Richard Eberhart Collected Poems, 1930-1976
1976 John Ashbery Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
1975 Marilyn Hacker Presentation Piece
1974 Allen Ginsberg The Fall of America: Poems of These States, 1965-1971
1974 Adrienne Rich Diving into the Wreck: Poems, 1971-1972 Adrienne Rich searches to reclaim, or to discover, what has been forgotten, lost or unexplored.
1973 A.R. Ammons Collected Poems, 1951-1971
1972 Howard Moss Selected Poems
1971 Mona Van Duyn To See, To Take
1970 Elizabeth Bishop The Complete Poems
1969 John Berryman His Toy, His Dream, His Rest
1968 Robert Bly The Light Around the Body
1967 James Merrill Nights and Days
1966 James Dickey Buckdancer's Choice Poetry that is a blend of superb gift and subtle imagination by a mature and original poet at his finest.
1965 Theodore Roethke The Far Field
1964 John Crowe Ransom Selected Poems
1963 William Stafford Traveling Through the Dark
1962 Alan Dugan Poems
1961 Randall Jarrell The Woman at the Washington Zoo
1960 Robert J. Lowell Life Studies
1959 Theodore Roethke Words for the Wind
1958 Robert Penn Warren Promises: Poems, 1954-1956
1957 Richard Wilbur Things of This World
1956 W.H. Auden The Shield of Achilles
1955 Wallace Stevens Collected Poems Wallace Stevens lived long enough to see the establishment of his unquestioned position as one of the significant and enduring poets of twentieth-century America. For more than four decades he had written poetry marked by inclusive thoughtfulness, magical evocativeness of language, and an unmistakable individuality that sets him apart from his confreres. The present volume was published to honor him on his seventy-fifth birthday, October 2, 1954.
1954 Conrad Aiken Collected Poems
1953 Archibald MacLeish Collected Poems, 1917-1952 This expanded volume of the distinguished poet's work contains 29 previously uncollected poems, some that had been published, and some found in manuscript after MacLeish's death in 1982. This is the definitive volume produced by a life that filled several careers as writer, teacher, and public servant, but was devoted above all to poetry.
1952 Marianne Moore Collected Poems
1951 Wallace Stevens The Auroras of Autumn
1950 William Carlos Williams Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems Compassionate but clear-eyed poem about man and modernity in America.