On Thursday, December 8, the Library of Congress will host the winners of the 2022 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, Rita Dove and Heid E. Erdrich. The event will take place at 7pm ET at LJ-119, Thomas Jefferson Building, and timed-entry passes are still available.
Dove and Erdrich join a long and distinguished list of winners throughout the 22-year history of the prize. For more on the Bobbitt prize, here are a few highlighted links:
- A 1990 Washington Post article announcing James Merrill as the inaugural winner, for his book “Inner Room”—and featuring quotes from jurors J. D. McClatchy and Amy Clampitt.
- An article in the Library’s Information Bulletin announcing the 1996 prize and giving some background on the establishment of the prize—almost forty years after the poetry scandal that led Congress to abolish prizes at the Library.
- A webcast of the 2012 Bobbitt Prize reading, honoring Gerald Stern and his “Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992.” Mr. Stern passed away this past October, at the age of 97.
- The March/April issue of the “Library of Congress” magazine, containing the article “Love in the Stacks” (pg. 22) about the relationship that led to the Bobbitt Prize—and a picture of 2014 prizewinner Patricia Smith reading her poems in the Main Reading Room as part of a President’s Day open house.
- The 2020 Bobbitt Prize event webcast with Terrance Hayes and Natasha Trethewey, the first under Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and the first to be fully virtual.
We are eager to return to the Library this year for the Bobbitt Prize, the first time it will be held in the Library’s historic Jefferson Building as part of its new “LIVE! at the Library” series. We hope you come check out former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove and National Poetry Series winner Heid E. Erdrich, reading in one of the Library’s most beautiful and intimate spaces, and also grab a drink or bite to eat in the Great Hall!