105 Years of Poetry

Dear Friend,

On this day October 10, 1910, the first formal meeting of the Poetry Society of America was held in New York at the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South.

Here are some of things we have been up to since then!

  • 1911: Ezra Pound attends a meeting on the eve of his journey to England.
  • 1913: W. B. Yeats appears before a Society meeting and chants "The Dream of Wandering Aengus" to an enthralled audience.
  • 1918: The first president of the Poetry Society of America, Edward J. Wheeler, finds patrons to donate $500 to establish a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. 
  • 1925: Countee Cullen is the recipient of the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Award. (Langston Hughes wins the following year.)
  • 1944: E. E. Cummings is awarded the Shelley Memorial Award. 
  • 1952: Elizabeth Bishop is awarded the Shelley Memorial Award. 
  • 1967: Marianne Moore receives the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Art.
  • 1976: Gwendolyn Brooks is awarded the Frost Medal.
  • 1984: Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan share the Shelley Memorial Award.
  • 1992: Poetry in Motion, a public arts initiative placing poems on subways and buses across the country (and reaching millions of people daily), is launched in New York City.
  • 1999: Hettie Jones wins the Norma Farber First Book Award.
  • 2002: The PSA Chapbook Fellowship Program is established. Each year sees the publication of 4 chapbooks, selected and introduced by distinguished contemporary poets. To date, 48 careers in poetry have been launched though this award-winning program.
  • 2007: Kimiko Hahn receives the Shelley Memorial Award.
  • 2010: The PSA's Centennial Celebration "100 Years of American Poetry, 1910-2010" takes place in Cooper Union with U. S. Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Daniel Hoffman, Kay Ryan, and Charles Simic and with Nathalie Merchant and Maria Tucci. Lucille Clifton is chosen as the PSA's Centennial Frost Medalist.
  • 2013: The Tenth Anniversary Chapbook Fellowship Reading is held at the Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center.    
  • 2014: An Actors' Reading of Bertolt Brecht's Love Poems, organized by Tony Kushner, with musical direction by Kimberly Grigsby fills the Bruno Walter Theater at the Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
  • 2015: Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life at the New York Botanical Garden draws more than 500,000 people. Rachel Eliza Griffiths curates the Poetry Walk for this fifth annual partnership between the PSA and the NYBG.

Since that October day in 1910, the PSA, still located in the beautiful National Arts Club, is thriving. For 105 years we have worked to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. Because of the dedicated support of poetry lovers like you, the PSA has continuously promoted and honored poetry at readings across the country, on our website, through Poetry in Motion, and with our many outstanding annual awards. 

With warm thanks for your continuing generosity and support, 

Alice Quinn
Executive Director
P.S. Please visit our website to learn more about upcoming programs and our annual awards, or to become a member!