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Bollingen Prize


Bollingen Prize

The Bollingen Prize for Poetry is a literary honor bestowed on an American poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement.[1] It is awarded every two years by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University,


  • Inception and controversy 1
  • Continuance through the Yale University Library 2
  • Recipients 3
    • When awarded annually 3.1
  • See also 4
    • Lists 4.1
  • References 5

Inception and controversy

The prize was established in 1948 by Paul Mellon, and was funded by a US$10,000 grant from the Bollingen Foundation to the Library of Congress. Both the prize and the foundation are named after the village of Bollingen, Switzerland, where Carl Jung had a country retreat, the Bollingen Tower. The inaugural prize, chosen by a jury of Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress, was awarded to Ezra Pound for his collection of poems The Pisan Cantos.

The choosing of a work by a man who had been a committed fascist sympathizer infuriated many people in Cold War America, and political pressure led Congress to end the Library of Congress's involvement in the program. The unused portion of the grant was returned to the Bollingen Foundation in 1949.[1][2][3]

Continuance through the Yale University Library

The Bollingen Foundation decided to continue the program, with the administrative tasks being handled by the Yale University Library. The prize was awarded annually from 1948 to 1963. In 1963 the amount of the award was increased to $5,000, and thereafter it was given every other year. After 1968, when the Bollingen Foundation was dissolved, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation took over. In 1973 the Mellon Foundation established an endowment of $100,000 to enable the Yale Library to continue awarding the prize in perpetuity.[3]

In 1961 a similar prize was set up by the Bollingen Foundation for best translation and it was won by Robert Fitzgerald for his translation of the Odyssey. It has also been won by Walter W. Arndt for his translation of Eugene Onegin, and in 1963 by Richard Wilbur and Mona Van Duyn jointly.


Each year links to its corresponding "[year] in poetry" article:

2015 Nathaniel Mackey
2013 Charles Wright
2011 Susan Howe
2009 Allen Grossman
2007 Frank Bidart
2005 Jay Wright
2003 Adrienne Rich
2001 Louise Glück
1999 Robert Creeley
1997 Gary Snyder
1995 Kenneth Koch
1993 Mark Strand
1991 Laura Riding Jackson and Donald Justice
1989 Edgar Bowers
1987 Stanley Kunitz
1985 John Ashbery and Fred Chappell
1983 Anthony Hecht and John Hollander
1981 Howard Nemerov and May Swenson
1979 W. S. Merwin
1977 David Ignatow
1975 A. R. Ammons
1973 James Merrill
1971 Richard Wilbur and Mona Van Duyn
1969 John Berryman and Karl Shapiro
1967 Robert Penn Warren
1965 Horace Gregory

When awarded annually

1963 Robert Frost
1962 John Hall Wheelock and Richard Eberhart
1961 Yvor Winters
1960 Delmore Schwartz and David Jones
1959 Theodore Roethke
1958 E. E. Cummings
1957 Allen Tate
1956 Conrad Aiken
1955 Léonie Adams and Louise Bogan
1954 W. H. Auden
1953 Archibald MacLeish and William Carlos Williams
1952 Marianne Moore
1951 John Crowe Ransom
1950 Wallace Stevens
1949 Ezra Pound

See also



  1. ^ a b "The Bollingen Prize for Poetry at Yale," webpage maintained by Yale University. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2007.
  2. ^ McGuire, William (1982). Bollingen: An Adventure in Collecting the Past (Princeton University Press:Bollingen Series, New Jersey).
  3. ^ a b McGuire, William (1988). "Ezra Pound and Bollingen Prize controversy," in Poetry's Catbird Seat (the consultantship in poetry in the English language at the Library of Congress, 1937-1987) (Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.). ISBN 0-8444-0586-8 . Online version retrieved November 10, 2007.
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