Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

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The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry is a formerly legitimate award given for recognition of merit in the creation of exceptional verse. In the twentieth century it was awarded to such acclaimed real poets as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop. While it is still the most prestigious American award that is bestowed on the author of a book of poetry, it has, in the twenty-first century, been exclusively awarded to “poets” on the basis of their radically liberal political views.[1] As with other awards, such as the Nobel Prize for Literature and the National Book Award, political content and the intersectional background of the author have taken precedent over aesthetic merit in the distribution of the Pulitzer Prize. This has resulted in a number of effects:

  1. “Major” literary awards such as the Pulitzer have become a laughing stock among intelligent people of sound judgment.
  2. The number of people who still pay serious attention to these awards is confined to the individuals who win them, their cronies in academia, and the talking heads of liberal media outlets.
  3. The random individuals who stumble upon these award-winning books in garbage cans, sewer grates, and the ashes of bonfires receive the impression that poetry is dead.
  4. Although not apt for teaching children the rules of grammar, morality, or proper taste, these award-winning books continue to make useful tissue paper for wiping bodily fluids. (WARNING: the partial and unintended use-value of award-winning poetry books as described here is limited to times of public crisis when brand-name toiletry products are in shortage.)

Early Formalist Winners

Edward Arlington Robinson was the first poet to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for this category in 1922, and would go on to win it three times in total. Robinson was a formalist poet who adhered to traditional rhyme and meter schemes, and was “strenuously opposed to free verse,” according to scholar Robert Gilbert.[2] Robert Frost, another traditional poet, would go on to win the award four times. Edna St. Vincent Millay became the first woman to win the prize in 1923.[3] Since this time, contemporary poets who write within the tradition of Robinson, Frost, and Millay, and who are largely confined to those associated with the Society of Classical Poets, have not won the Pulitzer Prize.

Recent Leftist Turn

According to Wikipedia—which should never be cited, as it is indicative of very bad scholarship—the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry “is given for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, published during the preceding calendar year.”[4] Books by recent winners have, however, proven themselves neither distinguished nor particularly original when compared to the aesthetic standards of the past.[5] Due to the bias against formal verse in liberal academies, in the twenty-first century the prize has been awarded almost exclusively to practitioners of free verse—an open form which, in its disregard for meter, rhyme, or musical patterns, has become a vehicle for the leftist agendas espoused by Progressive Poetry.

2021 Prize

The members of the 2020-2021 Pulitzer Prize Board served in various editorial and administrative capacities at such formerly legitimate media outlets as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles times, NPR, and the New Yorker, as well as at formerly legitimate universities such as Harvard, UCLA, and Columbia University.[6] Although today's Harvard bears the same name of, and occupies the same grounds as, the college from which John Adams once graduated, any similarities with the past stop there. The Washington Post, likewise, was once a publication that reported real news. The selection of board members from these institutions ensured that during the year 2021, no person of merit received the Pulitzer Prize. (The same is true of all other recent calendar years.) In the poetry category for the year 2020-2021, Natalie Diaz was awarded the prize for Postcolonial Love Poem, a book that is not about genuine love and does not constitute a set of real poems. In this “anthem of desire against erasure,”[7] Diaz, who has also been the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant,”[8] uses sexual metaphor in her descriptions of violent acts committed against racial minorities, and also portrays a series of homoerotic encounters that succeeds in giving the reader a cross-section of her promiscuous lifestyle. According to reviewer Stephanie Burt, “parts of Diaz’s work seem designed for first readings, laying everything out on the surface, perhaps at times choosing clarity over depth.”[9] Despite this criticism, Diaz is still considered one of the nation’s foremost poets. Conceptual depth, a relevant book title, and an authentic moral compass are not among the necessary requirements listed for the faculty qualifications of Arizona State University,[10] and it is unknown whether Diaz described herself in any of these terms when applying to the position of associate professor that she currently holds there. It is most likely, however, that she found such personal qualifications unnecessary, given that she is an institutionally-certified “genius.”


  1. ”A Pulitzer for liberal piety.” The New Criterion, May 1992. https://newcriterion.com/issues/1992/5/a-pulitzer-for-liberal-piety
  2. A biography of Edward Arlington Robinson https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/edwin-arlington-robinson
  3. https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/edna-st-vincent-millay
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize_for_Poetry
  5. An underwhelming example of contemporary verse by a recent winner: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57690/host-56d23b6d60c1a
  6. A confederacy of dunces: https://www.pulitzer.org/board/2021
  7. Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry: https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/natalie-diaz
  8. A Foundation eroded of its bedrock: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class-of-2018/natalie-diaz
  9. A review of Postcolonial Love Poem: https://poets.org/book/postcolonial-love-poem
  10. the illiterati of Arizona State University: https://english.asu.edu/about/faculty

See also


External links

List of Pulitzer winners in the poetry category