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 2021 Stanley Kunitz medal opened on December 1, 2020, and will close on March 1, 2021. The 2021 award announcement will be made in the May of 2021 with an award ceremony coinciding with Kunitz’s birthday in July 2021. The 2021 ceremony will also recognize 2020 recipient Susan Roney-O’Brien.
Nominations 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 the way 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.
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.
Members of the Stanley Kunitz Medal Committee will not be eligible for the award.
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. An endowment was created with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation in support of the award. Additional fundraising took place to increase the fund to a level that would further support the award.
In 2013 a sub-committee of the WCPA board of directors 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 in mid-2014 and the inaugural award was presented in 2015.
Recent Past Winners
2019 – Fran Quinn
2017 – Carle Johnson
Rodger Martin – Committee Chair
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Past Committee Members
The WCPA wishes to thank the following individuals for serving on the Stanley Kunitz Medal Award in the past.
Robert Steele (2014 – 2016)
E. Robert Cronin (2014 – 2018)