The 2017 Yale Series of Younger Poets Winner: Duy Doan

Yale University Press is pleased to announce a winner in the 2017 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. The judge, prize-winning and critically acclaimed poet Carl Phillips, has chosen Duy Doan’s manuscript, We Play a Game.

Series judge Carl Phillips says: “If games figure in Duy Doan’s We Play a Game, they do so much more seriously, and resonantly, than the title alone suggests. For game here can mean as well the strategies for weathering those parts of society that threaten identity itself, at the level of gender (in all its fluidity), or race, of family as history and tradition – of language, too, and our expectations for it. Wide-ranging in subject, Doan’s poems include boxing, tongue twisters, hedgehogs, Billie Holiday, soccer and, hardly least of all, a Vietnamese heritage that butts up against an American upbringing in ways at once comic, estranging, off-kiltering. Doan negotiates the distance between surviving and thriving, and offers here his own form of meditation on, ultimately, childhood, history, culture – who we are, and how – refusing all along to romanticize any of it.”

Yale University Press will publish We Play a Game in April 2018. The manuscript is Phillips’s seventh selection as judge and the 112th volume in the series. Carl Phillips’s sixth selection, Airea D. Matthews’s Simulacra will be published by Yale University Press on March 28, 2017.

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2016 Winner

Airea D. Matthews

In her debut poetry collection, winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, a fresh and rebellious poetic voice speaks emphatically from a racialized America about want and desire, while radically altering readers’ perceptions of what poems can and should do in a new media society.


History of the Prize

The Yale Series of Younger Poets champions the most promising new American poets. Awarded since 1919, the Yale Younger Poets prize is the oldest annual literary award in the United States. Past winners include Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, William Meredith, W.S. Merwin, John Ashbery, John Hollander, James Tate, and Carolyn Forché. Louise Glück was the judge of the Series from 2003-2010, and Carl Phillips is the current judge.