The 2018 Yale Series of Younger Poets Winner: Yanyi

Yale University Press is pleased to announce a winner in the 2018 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. The judge, prize-winning and critically acclaimed poet Carl Phillips, has chosen Brooklyn-based poet Yanyi’s manuscript, The Year of Blue Water.

Series judge Carl Phillips says: “As its title implies, The Year of Blue Water reads as a record of time, a kind of daybook of observations in sentences so crystalline, spare, direct, and yet offhand, that it can be easy to miss, at first, the book’s complexity. ‘It is a certain life and not its answer that is worthy of being repeated. Invitation, invocation, request.’ Indeed, the poems work exactly so, inviting us into the life they invoke, a life that both argues for and is an example of how identity is multifaceted: the poems’ speaker is an artist, of an apparent immigrant background, is trans, is deeply invested in friendship as a rescuing form of community. Identity, then, as not any one of these things but all of them, each marker of identity at once incidental and essential.”

Yale University Press will publish The Year of Blue Water in April 2019. The manuscript is Phillips’s eighth selection as judge and the 113th volume in the series. Carl Phillips’s seventh selection, Duy Doan’s We Play a Game will be published by Yale University Press on March 20, 2018.

Read more.


We Play a Game

2017 Winner

Duy Doan

Poet Duy Doan offers a collection of surprising, unsettling meditations on childhood, culture, desire, and history that jointly explore the Vietnamese-American experience.


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.