$1,000 cash prize and publication by Wesleyan University Press 

Submission period: February 1–29, 2024
Submission fee: $25
Submit through Submittable


About the Prize

The Cardinal Poetry Prize was conceived by John Murillo, poet and Associate Professor of English at Wesleyan University, as a unique opportunity for serious poets who have taken their time and decided not to rush publication, for the studious, rigorous, midnight oil burning, patient ones who are finally satisfied that they have something worthy of readers. The winner will be selected by the guest judge following an initial screening process conducted by coeditors Murillo and Suzanna Tamminen, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Wesleyan University Press. 

About Robert Pinsky

Photo of Robert Pinsky. The square photograph is cropped closely around his face. Pinksy is a distinguished older gentleman. He is wearing glasses.
Courtesy of Eric_Antoniou.

Robert Pinsky grew up in Long Branch, NJ, an historic seashore resort described in his recent autobiography Jersey Breaks. His most recent book of poetry is At the Foundling Hospital, with a new book of poems, Proverbs of Limbo, appearing next year. His PoemJazz album of the same title— Proverbs of Limbo— with musicians including Laurence Hobgood and Mino Cinélu, is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Other works include the best-selling translation The Inferno of Dante and The Life of David, on the Biblical figure. Previous books of poetry include his Selected Poems and Gulf Music

His honors include the Korean Manhae Award, the Italian Premio Capri and the Harold Washington Award of the City of Chicago. He has honorary degrees from institutions including Stanford University, The New School, and the University of Michigan.

Robert Pinsky’s first two terms as United States Poet Laureate met such enthusiastic national response that he was appointed to an unprecedented third term. As Laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of American readers, of varying backgrounds, ages, and regions, read their favorite poems. The videos at favoritepoem.org show that poetry has a vigorous presence in American culture. 

Pinsky is a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University. He is the only member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters to have appeared on The Colbert Report and The Simpsons.