May 10, 2010 Library of Congress Seeks Nominations for the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Poetry Prize

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Patricia Gray (202) 707-5394

The Library of Congress is accepting nominations from publishers for the $10,000 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. The prize, for the year 2010, will be awarded in the fall.

The prize is given biennially. It will be presented to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years, 2008 and 2009, or for lifetime achievement in poetry. Publishers may submit entries for the best book; the lifetime achievement awarding is at the sole discretion of the prize jury and the Librarian of Congress.

Applications must be postmarked by June 4. Guidelines for submission can be found at

The prize is given by the family of the late Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt of Austin, Texas, in her memory. She was one of three sisters of President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 1930s, Rebekah Johnson was a graduate student in Washington and worked at the Library of Congress, where she met co-worker O.P. Bobbitt, whom she later married.

Their son, Philip C. Bobbitt, once described how his parents used old index cards at the Library to pass notes to one another to further their romance. “Some time after my mother’s death, my father and I decided to endow a memorial in her honor and, owing to the history I have described, the Library of Congress was suggested as a possible recipient of this memoriam.”

The 2008 Bobbitt National Poetry Prize was split between Charles Wright for lifetime achievement and Bob Hicok for his collection “This Clumsy Living” (2007, University of Pittsburgh Press). Additional past winners include W.S. Merwin, who won in 2006 for “Present Company” (Copper Canyon Press); B.H. Fairchild in 2004 for “Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (W.W. Norton); and Alice Fulton in 2002 for “Felt” (W.W. Norton). The Bobbitt Prize was first given in 1990.


PR 10-106
ISSN 0731-3527