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Prize Winners

2022 Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize Winner

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley portrait with books in backgroundPATRICIA JABBEH WESLEY

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, the author of several extensively reviewed and recognized collections of poetry, is the recipient of the 15th Saginaw Valley triennial Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and will be awarded at a ceremony on March 21, 2023. A trio of judges selected Wesley for her collection Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems, noting that her poems “display an incredibly large range [and] are beautifully crafted and intellectually brilliant.” Wesley immigrated to the United States from Liberia, West Africa, during that country’s first civil war and her experiences in Liberia helped shape her writing, which explores themes of motherhood, home and displacement.

Wesley holds a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University and is currently a professor of English, creative writing, and African Literature at Penn State University-Altoona.

Past Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize Winners

  • Douglas Kearney (2017, for Black Studies)
  • Tim Seibles (2014, for Fast Animal)
  • David Baker (2011, for Never Ending Birds)
  • Robert Pinsky (2008, for Gulf Music)
  • Carl Phillips (2005, for The Rest of Love)
  • Sherod Santos (2002, for The Pilot Star Elegies)
  • Frank Bidart (1998, for Desire)
  • Kimiko Hahn (1995, for Earshot)
  • Carolyn Kizer (1988, for The Nearness of You)
  • John Ciardi (1986, for The Birds of Pompeii)
  • Richard Hugo (1976, for What Thou Lovest Well, Remains American)
  • Donald Finkel (1974, for Adequate Earth)
  • Robert Penn Warren (1971, for Incarnations: Poems, 1966-1968)
  • Howard Nemerov (1968, for The Blue Swallows)
Doug Kearney talking with High Schoolers

Douglas Kearney


A portrait of kimiko hahn

Kimiko Hahn


A picture of Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky