Lilly Fellowships to Nearly Double Next Year

Emerging poets got some good news yesterday: The Ruth Lilly Fellowships, given annually by the Poetry Foundation to five poets, ages thirty-one and younger, will nearly double in value next year thanks to a $1.2 million gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund.

The new endowment, announced yesterday, will be put directly toward the fellowship prizes, which currently offer $15,000 to each recipient. The awards, the first round of which will be given next year, will also bear a new name: the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowships.

The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund, which gives a host of monetary awards to young poets each year—including the annual Dorothy Prizes, whose next deadline is October 5—is named in honor of poet Dorothy Sargent Fraser and her husband, Marvin Rosenberg, who met during the Depression while studying at the University of California in Berkeley. Fraser wrote and published poems under the name Dorothy Sargent; Rosenberg, a Shakespeare scholar, bequeathed his estate as a memorial to his late wife “as a means of giving a financial lift to deserving young poets.”

In Tuesday’s announcement, fund administrators Mary and Barr Rosenberg wrote on the Memorial Fund website that while they’ve been able to administer the prizes themselves the past nine years, “now it is time for the balance of Marvin’s bequest to be deployed in a long lasting way for the benefit of promising young poets….We are delighted to make this gift on Marvin’s behalf to the Poetry Foundation, so that the funds can continue to be entirely dedicated to the poets themselves. This is exactly what Marvin would have wished to bring about in Dorothy’s memory.”

The pair—Rosenberg’s son and second wife—is also hoping to find new administration for the Dorothy Prizes. Interested individuals and organizations are invited to contact Mary Rosenberg at

For more information on the Ruth Lilly Fellowships, and to keep an eye out for submissions guidelines for the new prize, visit the Poetry Foundation website.