The Stanley Kunitz Award medal is presented annually to a person with a strong Worcester County (Mass.) connection who best exemplifies Stanley Kunitz’s life-long commitment to poetry and poets. The award recognizes the total commitment to poetry as Kunitz lived it: teaching poetry, mentoring poets, speaking poetry, publishing poetry, and supporting organizations that nurture poetry.
Nominations for the annual Stanley Kunitz medal open in December and close in March of the following year. The award is typically announced in May, and an award ceremony is held in July, coinciding with Kunitz’s birthday.
Nominations, including supporting documentation, should be mailed to:
Worcester County Poetry Association
Attn: Stanley Kunitz Award Committee
PO Box 804
Worcester, MA 01613
The Stanley Kunitz medal may be presented annually to a person with a strong Worcester County connection who best exemplifies Stanley Kunitz’s lifelong commitment to poetry and poets.
The award was created to honor the total commitment to poetry in how Kunitz exemplified it: teaching poetry, mentoring poets, speaking poetry, publishing poetry, and supporting organizations that nurture poetry.
The President of the WCPA will appoint a selection committee of five who will serve two years minimum. This Committee may or may not include members of the WCPA Board.
The Committee will develop a list of nominees, including their qualifications for the award from submitted nominations.
Members of the WCPA, the staff of the Worcester Review, and all others with a strong interest in poetry, will be encouraged to nominate individuals. Each year the Committee will choose the award from among the nominees.
The Stanley Kunitz Medal Committee members are not eligible for the award, nor will they nominate individuals.
Following Stanley Kunitz’s death in 2006, a sum of money was given to the Worcester County Poetry Association for the purpose of creating an award in his name. The Greater Worcester Community Foundation created an endowment to support the award. Additional fundraising took place to increase the fund to a level that would further support the award.
In 2013, a WCPA board of directors sub-committee set out to develop guidelines for the award. The guidelines were accepted by the board in October 2013. In 2014 K-Fai Steele was commissioned to create the bust image of Kunitz that is used on the award medal. The first Kunitz Award Committee was formed mid-2014, and the inaugural award was presented in 2015.
Recent Past Winners
Learn more about Stanley Kunitz by visiting the following sites:
- Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home
- The Poetry Foundation Stanley Kunitz Page
- Stanley Kunitz on Wikipedia
- Literary Landmark: Boyhood Home of Stanley Kunitz
- the Paris Review interview with Stanley Kunitz
- Stanley Kunitz’s obituary in the New York Times
- Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor on PBS “Touch Me” by Stanley Kunitz
Our Award Committee
- Judith Ferrara – Committee Chair
- Joe Fusco
- John Hodgen
- Heather J. Macpherson
- Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
The WCPA wishes to thank the following individuals for serving on the Stanley Kunitz Medal Award Committee in the past.
- Robert Steele (2014 – 2016)
- E. Robert Cronin (2014 – 2018)
- Rodger Martin (2014-2023)
- Karen Sharpe (2019-2021)
- Kent Ljunquist (2017-2021)