The H. MacKnight Black Poetry and Literature Prize, established in 1945, is awarded to a senior for the best poem. A poet of national or international distinction judges the contest, meets with students, and gives a reading on campus, preceded at the podium by the student winner or co-winners.  MacKnight Black judges have included Gillian Conoley, Mark Doty, Lynn Emanuel, Brian Henry, Major Jackson, Lawrence Joseph, Yusef Komunyakaa, David Lehman, William Matthews, Campbell McGrath, Heather McHugh, Paul Muldoon, Alicia Ostriker, Molly Peacock, Tomaz Salamun, and Gerald Stern, and Kimiko Hahn.  The 2012 MacKnight Black Poet was Matthew Dickman.

The MacKnight Black Poetry Prize is awarded annually in memory of MacKnight Black ’16, who at the time of his death in 1931 was regarded as one of American’s significant poets.  He was particularly admired for his incorporation of technological terms and images in his poetry.

The Jean E. Corrie Poetry Prize, established in 1989, is awarded for the best poem by a first-year student, sophomore, or junior. The prize is sponsored by the English department and the Academy of American Poets.  The judge of the competition gives a reading at the Jean Corrie Poetry Reading & Ice Cream Social, preceded by students whose poetry was selected in the competition.  Past judges have included David Chin, Barbara Crooker, Katie Ford, Ross Gay ’96, Steve Myers, Kirk Nesset, Yolanda Wisher Palacio ’98, Beth Seetch, Ruth Setton, BJ Ward, and Bob Watt.  The 2012 Jean Corrie judge was Joe Weil.

The Corrie Prize is under the auspices of the Academy of American Poets.  Academy prizes were established in 1955 with ten schools as participants.  In subsequent years, the prizes have been awarded at more than 200 college and universities across the United States.  Among the prominent poets who won their recognition through an Academy College Poetry Prize are Sylvia Plath, Tess Gallagher, Heather McHugh, Mark Doty, and Jorie Graham.