Interviews: The Pegasus Poets

Poetry magazine will publish a commemorative folio of work by all 11 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners in its April 2023 issue. Subscribe to Poetry today to ensure you receive a copy of this incredible issue!

Published Interviews:



The Pegasus Awards is a family of prizes that includes the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Young People’s Poet Laureate, and the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. The annual Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is typically awarded to one living US poet in recognition of their outstanding lifetime achievement.

In honor of the 110th anniversary of Poetry magazine, the Poetry Foundation awarded 10 additional Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes, resulting in a total $1,132,500 in prizes to the 2022 winners. It is the greatest prize amount that the Poetry Foundation has ever awarded to a cohort of living poets at one time.

The 11 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners for 2022 are: Sandra Cisneros, CAConrad, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Juan Felipe Herrera, Angela Jackson, Haki Madhubuti, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Patti Smith and Arthur Sze.

The Pegasus Awards were held at the Museum of the Contemporary Art in Chicago, where more than 300 guests enjoyed a special ceremony.

Excerpt from the Poetry Foundation’s press release.

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The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners interviewed for The Pegasus Poets series, include:

CAConrad has worked with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975; their honors include a Lambda Literary Award. As a young poet, they lived in Philadelphia, where they lost many loved ones during the early years of the AIDS crisis, as documented in the essay “SIN BUG: AIDS, Poetry, and Queer Resilience in Philadelphia.” Conrad is the author of many books of poetry, including AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration and While Standing in Line for Death.

Read their interview, here.

Excerpt from the Poetry Foundation’s press release.

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10/27/2022 – The Poetry Foundation hosted its 2022 Pegasus Awards Ceremony and post reception at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Image courtesy, Harvey Tillis


More biographies from Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners are below:

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working class. Cisneros’s novel The House on Mango Street has been translated into over 25 languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. Her awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Arts, and a PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature, among others. Cisneros’s new collection of poetry, Woman Without Shame, is published by Knopf and Vintage Español in a Spanish language translation.

Rita Dove is a writer of poetry, fiction, drama, and essays who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1993–1995. Dove’s honors include an NAACP Image Award, a National Medal of Arts, and a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, among others. Her latest volume of poems, Playlist for the Apocalypse, was named a “Top Book of 2021” by The New York Times. Dove teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.

Nikki Giovanni is a poet and the author of several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Giovanni’s honors include a Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, seven NAACP Image Awards, and a Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award. Her recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose and Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.

Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet and son of farmworkers; he has served as both the Poet Laureate of the United States and California. Herrera’s awards include a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Latino Hall of Fame Award, among others. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the recent poetry collection Every Day We Get More Illegal and the translation Akrílica. The Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary School is scheduled to open in Fresno in Fall 2022.

Angela Jackson is a Chicago poet, playwright, and novelist currently serving as the Illinois Poet Laureate. Jackson’s honors include a Pushcart Prize and a Shelley Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America. Her poetry collection, All These Roads Be Luminous, was nominated for the National Book Award, and her debut novel, Where I Must Go, won an American Book Award. In addition, Jackson has written four plays: Comfort StewWitness!Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love.

Haki Madhubuti is a poet, author, publisher, and educator. Madhubuti is widely regarded as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, and is the founder and publisher of Chicago’s Third World Press. Madhubuti has published more than 36 books, including his recent collection, Taught By Women: Poems As Resistance Language, New and Selected. His honors include an American Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize, and a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, among others.

Sharon Olds is the author of 12 books of poetry, including Arias, short-listed for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Stag’s Leap, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a T. S. Eliot Prize. Olds’s other honors include the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University, and helped to found the NYU workshop program for residents of Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, professor, activist, and one of the foremost leaders of the Black Studies movement. Sanchez is the author of over 20 books, including Morning HaikuShake Loose My Skin, and her Collected Poems, published in 2021. Her honors include an American Book Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, a Langston Hughes Poetry Award, and a Robert Frost Medal, among others; in 2011, she was named the first Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Patti Smith was born in Chicago, raised in South Jersey, and moved to New York City in 1967. Smith’s books of nonfiction and poetry include Year of the MonkeyDevotion, and M Train; her new collection, A Book of Days, is forthcoming. Her honors include the 2010 National Book Award for her bestselling memoir Just Kids, a PEN/Audible Literary Service Award, and being named a Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia University.

Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor; he is the author of 11 of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems and Sight Lines, which won a National Book Award for Poetry. Sze’s honors include a Shelley Memorial Award, a Jackson Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Award, among others. He was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012–2017, and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Excerpt from the Poetry Foundation’s press release.

Visit the Poetry Foundation, here.