Nominations will be requested from current Professional Members of PEN.

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry is given in even-numbered years to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature. The poet honored by the award is one whom expanded the scope of American poetry, and who continues to mature with each successive volume of poetry. They receive a stipend of $5,000 after being chosen by a panel of three to five poets or writers whose tastes and knowledge of contemporary American poetry are wide-ranging and thorough. The award was established by a bequest from Hunce Voelcker. Some past winners include: Ed Roberson in 2016, Frank Bidart in 2014, Linda Gregg in 2006, and Robert Pinsky in 2004. Click to view past winners of the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry »



Submissions for the 2018 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2017 through August 15, 2017. 


  • There are no restrictions as to the age of the poet or to the style of his or her work.

Submission guidelines 


  • Please note that submissions will only be accepted from Professional Members of PEN and that it is understood that all nominations made for the PEN/Voelcker Award supplement internal nominations made by the panel of judges.
  • The nomination form will require:
    • A letter of support that describes in some detail how the poet meets the criteria for the award.
    • Detailed information on the poet’s past publications.
  • Click here to fill out the nomination form.