Skip to main content Skip to footer
A row of folder tabs

Past Prize Winners

The 2017 recipient of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize was Douglas Kearney for his poetry collection, Buck Studies.

Born in 1974, Douglas earned his undergraduate degree at Howard University and his MFA from the California Institute of Arts. Not only contained to the world of poetry, Kearney also works as a performer and librettist, extending his artistic voice into mediums as varied as the written work he produces. Kearney often lends his work to identify issues related to socioeconomic and racial tensions, especially within the current political landscape of the United States. His poetic style is aimed at capturing the attention of readers through dynamic typography and clear, powerful imagery.

Kearney has been recognized with several awards, including a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart nomination, and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Idyllwild Summer Arts Poetry Workshop. Kearney was named a Notable New American Poet in 2007 and won the Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize in 2017 for Buck Studies (2016).

The winner of the 2020 Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize will be announced in Fall 2021.

Previous Winners:

  • 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)