PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Osterweil Award for Poetry


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.


Jonah Mixon-Webster

Jonah Mixon-Webster, 2019 Winner

Judges: Daniel Borzutzky, Ilya Kaminsky, Airea D. Matthews

From the judges’ citation: For the high literary character of his debut collection, Stereo(TYPE), which explores the intersection of space and body, race and region, and sexuality and class; and wrestles with the ongoing crisis in Flint, MI.


Featured Works

StereoTYPE by Jonah Mixon-Webster




Previous Winners

1999  Nick Flynn, Some Ether: Poems (Graywolf Press)

2001  Richard Matthews, The Mill is Burning (Grove Press)

2003  Dana Levin, In the Surgical Theater (Copper Canyon Press)

2005  Yerra Sugarman, Forms of Gone (Sheep Meadow)

2007  Peter Covino, Cut Off the Ears of Winter (New Issues Poetry)

2009  Jeffrey Yang, An Aquarium (Graywolf Press)

2011  Ishion Hutchinson, Far District (Peepal Tree Press Ltd.)

2013  Rowan Ricardo Phillips, The Ground (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

2015  Saeed Jones, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)

2017 Natalie Scenters-Zapico, The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing/Colorado State University)

2019 Jonah Mixon-Webster, Stereo(TYPE) (Ahsahta Press)



Selection Process


  • Only Professional Members of PEN America 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. Become a member today.
  • 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 the publication of the candidate’s first and only poetry collection.