Fady Joudah Wins $100,000 Jackson Poetry Prize

“Distinguished by his courage to speak in the face of the unspeakable,
in poems of lyric concision and intensity.”

Fady Joudah (Credit: Cybele Knowles)

New York—April 18, 2024—Poets & Writers today announced that Fady Joudah has won the 2024 Jackson Poetry Prize, which this year carries an increased award of $100,000. Bestowed annually by Poets & Writers to recognize an American poet of exceptional talent, the prize is endowed by a gift from the Liana Foundation and is named for the John and Susan Jackson family.

Joudah, the eighteenth winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize, is the author of six collections of poems, most recently […] (Milkweed Editions, 2024). He was selected by a panel of three judges: the esteemed poets Natalie Diaz, Gregory Pardlo, and Diane Seuss. In identifying Joudah as this year’s winner, the judges issued the following citation:

The Jackson Poetry Prize celebrates Palestinian-American poet Fady Joudah’s significant and evolving body of work, distinguished by his courage to speak in the face of the unspeakable, in poems of lyric concision and intensity. “I write for the future,” Joudah tells us, “because my present is demolished.” From the epicenter of that devastation, Joudah resists via the potent image, the senses, and the network of feelings, conjuring the smile of a child rescued from a bombed-out home, and two siblings who liberate their fish “from the rubble of airstrikes”—speaking of and from the “collaterals” of war. Joudah’s diction is slippery, elucidating the instability of language in bearing what cannot be borne. This slippage echoes, as well, the fragility of selfhood, and of love, in the face of such annihilation. He demands love poems from a world so adept at withholding love. The current historical moment gives Joudah’s most recent poems particular urgency, though his body of work has consistently explored mortality, the poem’s capacity to archive the living and the dead, and to transform borders into thresholds. Joudah’s lyric gift generates a transcendence into unity, “From womb / to breath, and one / with oneness // I be: / from the river / to the sea.”

The Jackson Poetry Prize has been awarded each year since 2007. Thanks to an endowment from the Liana Foundation, the value of the prize has grown to $100,000, making it among the most generous awards offered to an American poet. Recipients of the Jackson Prize have often gone on to receive additional recognition. The first recipient, named in 2007, was Elizabeth Alexander, who was later selected to read at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Others have included Claudia Rankine (2014), who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2016; Patricia Spears Jones (2017), who was appointed New York State Poet in 2023; Joy Harjo (2019), who was named United States Poet Laureate that same year; Carl Phillips (2021), who received the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Sonia Sanchez (2022), who received the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. There is no application process for the Jackson Poetry Prize; poets are nominated by a panel of their peers, who are selected by Poets & Writers and remain anonymous. Those who have served as judges are among America’s most distinguished poets. Find a full list of prior winners and judges here.


Fady Joudah is the author of […], and five earlier collections of poems: The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008); Alight (Copper Canyon Press, 2013); Textu (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), a book-long sequence of short poems whose meter is based on cell-phone character count; Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Milkweed Editions, 2018); and Tethered to Stars (Milkweed Editions, 2021). He has translated several collections of poetry from the Arabic and is the coeditor and cofounder of the Etel Adnan Poetry Series and Prize. A winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2007, Joudah has received a PEN USA Literary Award, a Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, the Griffin Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Arab American Book Award. He lives in Houston, where he practices internal medicine.


Poets & Writers is the primary source of information, support, and guidance for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the United States. Our mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.

We advance this mission through our flagship publication, Poets & Writers Magazine; pw.org, a website that provides trustworthy advice, information, and a lively online community for writers; the Readings & Workshops program, which pays writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops throughout New York and California, as well as in eight cities outside those states; and unique professional development opportunities, including Get the Word Out, a publicity incubator for emerging writers. We offer two prestigious awards: the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award and the Jackson Poetry Prize. Our work is guided by our core values: service, inclusivity, integrity, and excellence, and our commitment to becoming an antiracist organization. Learn more at pw.org.


Rachel Schuder
Director, Development & Marketing