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Typography from the 1st volume of the Yale Series for Younger Poets on Wikimedia Commons.

5 Landmark Titles from the Yale Series of Younger Poets

The Yale Series of Younger Poets champions the most promising new American poets. Awarded since 1919, the Yale Younger Poets prize is the longest-running poetry prize in the United States.

Past winners include Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Walker, W.S. Merwin, John Ashbery, Carolyn Forché, Richard Siken, Eduardo Corral, and Desiree Bailey.

Rae Armantrout, current judge for the prize, selected 5 landmark titles from the series in celebration of National Poetry Month.

1. Theory of Flight by Muriel Rukeyser (1935)

Published in 1935, Theory of Flight is a powerful meditation on the airplane as a challenge to static notions of poetry, sexuality, and politics

ISBN: 9789998000742


2. A Mask for Janus by W.S. Merwin (1952)

A collection centered in myth and grounded in the poetic forms of many societies, from former United States Poet Laureate

ISBN: 9780300246384

3. Some Trees by John Ashbery (1956)

A capsule of the imaginative life of the individual, from one of the century’s most important poets who took inspiration from French surrealism and abstract expressionism

ISBN: 9780300246377

4. The Lost Pilot by James Tate (1967)

Published in 1967, The Lost Pilot is an homage to the author’s father who died during a bombing mission in World War II

ISBN: 9789998000780


5. Dream Barker and Other Poems by Jean Valentine (1965)

Dream Barker and Other Poems is the first collection of poetry from New York’s former State Poet

ISBN: 9789998000780


Mass for Shut-Ins by Mary-Alice Daniel (2023)

Foreword by Rae Armantrout

Mary-Alice Daniel confronts tricontinental culture shock and her curious placement within many worlds in the 117th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets

ISBN: 9780300267990

Rae Armantrout is the award-winning author of eighteen books of poetry, most recently Finalists, Conjure, and Wobble.

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