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NEPC Golden Rose

The Golden Rose Award


The Golden Rose, one of America’s oldest literary prizes, was inaugurated in 1919 by the Second Church of Boston as a way to celebrate May Day by holding a poetry tournament in the style of the French Provençal poets who vied in “Les Jeux Floraux” in the Middle Ages. The rose was styled after the Gold Rose for which the French poets vied and which is now kept in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

However, the tournament in Boston was not a success. Reverend Shipton, whose idea it was, decided American poets did not want a competition for the award. So, he gave the Rose to the New England Poetry Club, asking us to award it annually to a poet who had done the most for poetry in that year or during a lifetime.

The Club continues that tradition by awarding the Rose to the poet, who by their poetry and inspiration to and encouragement of other writers, has made a significant mark on American poetry. The Club has traditionally given the prize to a poet with some ties to New England so that a public reading may take place.

The Golden Rose Award carries no monetary prize and is considered an honor to receive. The name of the poet is inscribed on the box along side the names of all the previous recipients. On occasion, sponsors, such as Kenneth Gloss, an antiquarian book expert, or the Friends of Longfellow, have sponsored the winning poet’s trip or awarded an honorarium.

Winners have included three Nobel Laureates: Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and Czeslaw Milosz, and several Pulitzer Prize recipients, all of whom received the Golden Rose before their international acclaim. Other winners include American icons Robert Frost, Katherine Lee Bates, Archibald MacLeish, David McCord, Robert Lowell, Stanley Kunitz, X.J. Kennedy, May Sarton, Adrienne Rich, Robert Penn Warren, John Updike and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Names of Recipients

The Golden Rose Box holds the history of the Award by including the names of the recipients:

Earl MarlattMarshall Schact
Katherine Lee BatesRobert Frost
Joseph AuslanderNancy Byrd Turner
Robert HillyerS. Foster Damon
Frances FrostArchibald MacLeish
Gretchen WarrenRobert Tristram Coffin
John Hall WheelockJohn Holmes
Leonore SpeyerKenneth Porter
David McCordRobert Francis
Amos WilderTheodore Spencer
May SartonDavid Morton
John CiardiWilliam Rose Benet
Richard EberhartRichard Wilbur
Harry Elmore HurdHarold Trowbridge Pulsifer
Frances Minturn HowardDorothy Burnham Eaton
Samuel French MorseNorma Farber
Morris BishopMark Van Doren
Edwin HonigHoward Nemerov
Dudley FittsRobert Lowell
Abbie Huston EvansLouis Untermeyer
Elizabeth CoatsworthL.E. Sissman
Allen GrossmanStanley Kunitz
Constance CarrierCharles Edward Eaton
Barbara HowesX.J. Kennedy
Robert Penn WarrenRobert Fitzgerald
Maxine KuminJ.V. Cunningham
John UpdikeWilliam Jay Smith
Peter ViereckJames Merrill
Galway KinnellMay Swenson
Philip LevineJohn Hollander
Derek WalcottDonald Hall
W.S. MerwinMarge Piercy
Adrienne RichSeamus Heaney
F.D. ReeveFrank Bidart
Czeslaw MiloszMary Oliver
William MeredithRobert Creeley
Robert PinskySharon Olds
Lawrence FerlinghettiDavid Ferry
Carolyn ForchéCharles Simic
Mark StrandNaomi Shihab Nye
Stephen SandyJean Valentine

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