The Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910. Its mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, to support poets through an array of programs and awards, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life.


October 10, 1910: First formal meeting of the Poetry Society of America held in New York at the National Arts Club. Forty of the country's leading poets and writers enroll as charter members.

1911: Ezra Pound attends a meeting on the eve of his journey to England.

1913: W.B. Yeats appears before the Society meeting and chants "The Dream of Wandering Aengus" to an enthralled audience.

March, 1915: Amy Lowell expounds her ideas on imagism before the Society.

1918: Board President Edward J. Wheeler finds a New York City patron of art who donates $500 to establish the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

1922: Edwin Arlington Robinson wins the PSA $500 Annual Book Award for his Collected Poems.

1925: Countee Cullen is the recipient of the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Award. Langston Hughes wins the following year.

1929: The PSA Shelley Memorial Award is established. The first winner is Conrad Aiken.

1938: Padraic Colum is elected President of the Board of Governors.

1940: Robert Frost is announced as the Honorary President of the Society. Marianne Moore wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1943: The Gold Medal is awarded to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

1944: E. E. Cummings is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award.

1951: Wallace Stevens receives the Gold Medal.

1952: Elizabeth Bishop wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1957: Richard Wilbur is the recipient of the PSA Millay Award. Randall Jarrell appears before the Society at the annual dinner.

1961: Theodore Roethke wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

1968: Jean Garrigue wins the PSA Melville Cane award for herNew and Selected Poems.

 1975: Gwendolyn Brooks wins the Shelley Memorial Award.

 1985: William Matthews is elected President of the Board of Governors. Robert Pinsky is the recipient of the William Carlos Williams Award.

1992: Molly Peacock, Board President, and Elise Paschen, Executive Director, inspired by the London program, Poems on the Underground, establish a similar program in New York City, Poetry in MotionĀ®.

1999: Hettie Jones wins the Norma Farber First Book Award.

2001: William Louis-Dreyfus is elected President of the Board of Governors. Alice Quinn is appointed Executive Director. Sonia Sanchez is awarded the Frost Medal.

November, 2001: "In a Time of Crisis," a reading of poems at Cooper Union following the September 11th attacks, draws an audience of 900 and is featured in The New York Times.

2002: The PSA Chapbook Fellowship Program is established. 

2003: The biennial PSA Festival of New American Poets is established. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the Frost Medalist.

2005: The PSA's 95th anniversary dinner at the Pierre Hotel features the living U. S. Poets Laureate.

2007: Ruth Kaplan is elected President of the Board of Governors.

2008: Michael S. Harper receives the Frost Medal.

2010: Lucille Clifton is chosen as the PSA's Centennial Frost Medalist.

2016: Kimiko Hahn is elected President of the Board of Governors.