In the 2019 awards cycle, nominations for this award will be requested from current Professional Members of PEN.

The PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry is given in odd-numbered years and alternates with the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. It recognizes the high literary character of the published work to date of a new and emerging American poet of any age and the promise of further literary achievement and confers upon them an award of $5,000. Poets nominated for the award may not have published more than one book of poetry.

Click to view past winners of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry »

For more information, please visit our FAQ page.


Submission Guidelines


  • Eligible:
    • Poets nominated for the award who have published no more than one book of poetry.
    • It is not required that the book of poetry be published in the current calendar year.
  • NOT eligible:
    • A poet cannot nominate themselves.


  • Only Professional Members of PEN who are in good standing may nominate a writer for this award. Review copies of the candidate’s work may be requested by the award judges.
  • Please nominate poets here. The online submission form will require:
    • A statement of support that describes the literary character of the candidate’s work. Most importantly, nominations should articulate the degree of promise which the nominated poet’s work indicates.  
    • Detailed information on publication of the candidate’s first and only poetry collection.