June 5, 2018 Library Seeks Nominations for Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry

Nominations Must Be Postmarked by July 15

Press Contact: Brett Zongker, (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Casper, (202) 707-1308
Website: Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry

The Library of Congress is accepting nominations from publishers for the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. The 2018 prize will be awarded in the fall.

The prize, which carries a $10,000 award, will be presented to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years, 2016 and 2017, or for lifetime achievement in poetry. Publishers may submit entries for the best book; the lifetime achievement award is at the sole discretion of the prize jury and the Librarian of Congress. The prize is given biennially.

Applications must be postmarked by July 15, 2018. Guidelines for submission can be found at loc.gov/poetry/prize-fellow/bobbitt.html.

The prize is made possible 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. “Sometime 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 memorial,” he said.

The 2016 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry was given to Claudia Rankine for her book “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press) and Nathaniel Mackey for lifetime achievement. Additional past winners include Patricia Smith, who won in 2014 for “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” (Coffee House Press); Gerald Stern, who won in 2012 for “Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992” (W.W. Norton); Lucia Perillo, who won in 2010 for “Inseminating the Elephant” (Copper Canyon Press); Charles Wright for lifetime achievement and Bob Hicok for “This Clumsy Living” (University of Pittsburgh Press) in 2008; and W.S. Merwin, who won in 2006 for “Present Company” (Copper Canyon Press). The Bobbitt Prize was first given in 1990.

The winner of the prize is chosen by a three-member jury appointed by a selection committee composed of the Librarian of Congress, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and the Bobbitt family.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed chair, U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry; coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures and symposia; and sponsors prizes and fellowships for literary writers. For more information, visit loc.gov/poetry/.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 18-075
ISSN 0731-3527