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Iconic Writers Honored at the Poetry Foundation’s 2022 Pegasus Awards

Celebrating poets’ legacies and the future of the art

Haki Madhubuti and Ydalmi Noriega
Haki Madhubuti and Ydalmi Noriega

CHICAGO — Thirteen writers made history and were celebrated during a festive evening of verse and performance at the Poetry Foundation’s 2022 Pegasus Awards ceremony in Chicago. The Pegasus Awards is a family of prizes that includes the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Young People’s Poet Laureate, and the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism.

Arthur Sze and Adrian Matejka
Arthur Sze and Adrian Matejka – Courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

The annual Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is typically awarded to one living US poet in recognition of their outstanding lifetime achievement. In honor of the 110th anniversary of Poetry magazine, the Poetry Foundation awarded 10 additional Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes, resulting in a total $1,132,500 in prizes to the 2022 winners. It is the greatest prize amount that the Poetry Foundation has ever awarded to a cohort of living poets at one time.

Rita Dove
Rita Dove – Courtesy of the Poetry Foundation

“It is a gift that we at the Poetry Foundation can recognize this diverse, dynamic group of artists. This year’s Pegasus Award winners have touched many lives across generations, and will continue to do so in immeasurable ways,” said Michelle T. Boone, president of the Poetry Foundation. “Through their work, each of these honorees has given of themselves to others; we are grateful to them, and it was a joy to celebrate alongside them.”

Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni – Courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

The 11 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners for 2022 are: Sandra Cisneros, CAConrad, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Juan Felipe Herrera, Angela Jackson, Haki Madhubuti, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Patti Smith, and Arthur Sze. Elizabeth Acevedo was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate for 2022–2024, and Kevin Quashie received the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism.

The Pegasus Awards were held at the Museum of the Contemporary Art in Chicago, where more than 300 guests enjoyed a special ceremony including performances and remarks from Dee Alexander & Trio, Melody Angel, Nora Brooks Blakely, Kurt Elling, Rick Kogan, Erika L. Sánchez, Jamila Woods, avery r. young, and the current editor of Poetry, Adrian Matejka.


About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and Poetry at @PoetryMagazine.

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