The Yale Younger Poets Prize is the oldest annual literary award in the United States. The competition is open to emerging poets who have not previously published a book of poetry and who reside in the United States.
Poems
Listen to 1987 Yale Younger Poet, Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Listen to 1987 Yale Younger Poet, Brigit Pegeen Kelly

92nd St Y recently digitized this reading from 1986 of Brigit Pegeen Kelly, who won the YSYP the following year. See more on 92Y
Little Beast | Crush by Richard Siken

Little Beast | Crush by Richard Siken

1 An all-night barbeque. A dance on the courthouse lawn. The radio aches a little tune that tells the story of what the night is thinking. It’s thinking of love. It’s thinking of stabbing us to death and leaving our bodies in a dumpster. That’s a nice touch, stains in the night, whiskey and kisses...
Scheherazade | Crush by Richard Siken

Scheherazade | Crush by Richard Siken

Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake and dress them in warm clothes again. How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running until they forget that they are horses. It’s not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere, it’s more like...
Straw House, Straw Dog | Crush by Richard Siken

Straw House, Straw Dog | Crush by Richard Siken

1 I watched TV.         I had a Coke at the bar.       I had four dreams in a row where you were burned, about to burn, or still on fire. I watched TV.          I had a Coke at the bar. I had four Cokes, four...
Saying Your Names |Crush by Richard Siken

Saying Your Names |Crush by Richard Siken

Saying Your Names Chemical names, bird names, names of fire and flight and snow, baby names, paint names, delicate names like bones in the body, Rumplestiltskin names that are always changing, names that no one’s ever able to figure out. Names of spells and names of hexes, names cursed quietly under the breath, or called...
Road Music |Crush by Richard Siken

Road Music |Crush by Richard Siken

    Road Music 1 The eye stretches to the horizon and then must continue up. Anything past the horizon is invisible, it can only be imagined. You want to see the future but you only see the sky. Fluffy clouds. Look—white fluffy clouds. Looking back is easy for a while and then looking back...
You Are Jeff | Crush by Richard Siken

You Are Jeff | Crush by Richard Siken

1 There are two twins on motorbikes but one is farther up the road, beyond the hairpin turn, or just before it, depending on which twin you are in love with at the time. Do not choose sides yet. It is still to your advan- tage to remain impartial. Both motorbikes are shiny red and...
That Light One Finds in Baby Pictures | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

That Light One Finds in Baby Pictures | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

  That Light One Finds in Baby Pictures 1 Being born is a shame— But it’s not so bad, as journeys go. It’s not the worst one We will ever have to make. It’s almost noon And the light now clouded in the courtyard is Like that light one finds in baby pictures: old And...
Of Paradise | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

Of Paradise | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

  Of Paradise There is a black fly drowning in that glass of beer. There is a black fly drowning in that glass of beer. How can no one notice it, That black fly? Black as a zero is useless. Black as grammar school. The man with the beer is a fisherman, Small and gigantic...
In the Garden | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

In the Garden | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

And the sky! Nooned with the steadfast blue enthusiasm Of an empty nursery. Crooked lizards grassed in yellow shade. The grass was lizarding, Green and on a rampage. Shade tenacious in the crook of a bent stem. Noon. This noon— Skyed, blue and full of hum, full of bloom. The grass was lizarding. Further Reading:...
Hearts of the South | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

Hearts of the South | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

In this place, where even the most humdrum of sunsets is one wild thrum and summersault After another,   It is impossible to relax. Even The parakeets,   Usually so drowsy at this time Of night, are darting from one   Palm tree to the next, having given   Up hope of falling asleep before...
Dogs | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

Dogs | Green Squall by Jay Hopler

AFTER JOHN BERRYMAN’S 63RD DREAM SONG Dogs pass no laws against you and knock not they your daughters up and do not to Manhattan go with your last two hundred dollars so, in general, Dogs are A-OK with me. It’s people should be neutered and kept off the grass. People And cats. People—like cats—are mean...