Gwenn A. Nusbaum Scholarship

Gwenn A. Nusbaum Scholarship

2025-2026 Scholarship

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA) is happy to announce the Gwenn A. Nusbaum Scholarship will be accepting submissions starting January 6, 2025 through March 31, 2025 for the 2025-2026 cycle.  The $1800 scholarship is offered in the spirit of Walt Whitman’s massive contribution to the field of poetic writing and encouragement of “Poets to Come.” One Honorable Mention will be selected and awarded $150 along with a bio in recognition of their achievement.

Applications are sought from those poets at the early stages of their careers, ages 25-35 years.  This scholarship, awarded every year, aims to encourage and assist an emerging poet in their creative poetry writing endeavors.  Their emerging poetry career should be of exceptional artistic quality and should demonstrate a passion for poetry, an awareness of the power of the poem, an originality of perspective and skillful use of expressive language.  They will be expected to produce additional strong work during the scholarship timeline of one year, July 1, 2025 – July 1, 2026.

The Scholarship is administered by WWBA.  The winner is selected by an independent and diverse panel of two (2) judges who may include, but are not limited to, poets, professors, scholars, writers and WWBA representatives. Past Panelists included Victoria Chang, Kwame Dawes, Cornelius Eady, Juan Filipe Herrera, Jane Hirshfield, Dean Kostos, Molly Peacock, and WWBA representative Trustee Robert Savino. Panelists for 2025 include Alicia Mountain and guest reader, Declan Ryan.


Samuel Burt is a poet and artist from Grinnell, Iowa. A 2022 winner of the AWP’s Intro Journals Project, Samuel’s poems have been featured in Salt Hill, Colorado Review, The Journal, Arc Poetry Magazine, and many more print and digital journals. He holds a poetry MFA from Bowling Green State University, reads for Fahmidan Journal, and works at the Grinnell College Libraries.

Nguyen is the author of Dear Diaspora (University of Nebraska Press 2021), which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Association of Asian American Studies, a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, and was a finalist for the Julie Suk Award. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize and have appeared or are forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, The Rumpus, Tin House, and elsewhere. The recipient of fellowships from the AZ Commission on the Arts, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, and the 2022 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from the American Poetry Review, she currently serves as the Senior Editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review.


Susan was selected by the 2023 Panel of Judges:  Victoria Chang, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jane Hirshfield, Trustee Robert Savino and Executive Director Cynthia Shor.

During the scholarship year, Hua plans to publish a first chapbook of poetry and finish a first poetry book manuscript.  Hua is interested in the mind and its internal languages, and writes about ways “we internally process the pain of the world.  The interior world can be as vast as the actual one, a place where things happen both forwards and backwards, simultaneously and years apart, where everything is true but nothing is real.” Hua began major poetry publication in 2018 and has received writing awards from Yale Writing Center Essay Contest and Boston Review Poetry Contest, among other awards, with essays published in the Harvard Review and the Wall Street Journal. Hua is a first-generation immigrant and has served as a family caretaker. Hua received a BA in Media Studies from Yale University, and is currently teaching art at the Parsons School of Design at The New School.

Poet panelists

Alicia Mountain is the author of Four in Hand (BOA 2023). Her debut collection, High Ground Coward (Iowa 2018), won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestPloughsharesAmerican Poetry Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. Mountain received her PhD at the University of Denver. She serves on the board of Foglifter, a LGBTQIA+ journal based in the Bay Area. Mountain lives in New York City, where she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writer’s Foundry MFA program at St. Joseph’s University in Brooklyn and a psychoanalytic candidate at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.

Declan Ryan was born in Mayo, Ireland and lives in London. His debut collection, Crisis Actor, was published by Faber & Faber in the UK and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US. His essays and reviews have appeared in many journals, including The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement, The Baffler, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poetry. 


Robert Savino (born April 24, 1948, Jamaica, NY) is a native Long Island poet, Suffolk County Poet Laureate 2015–2017, Board Member at the Walt Whitman Birthplace and at the Long Island Poetry & Literature Repository Center. He is the winner of the 2008 Oberon Poetry Prize, Association of Italian American Educators – Cristoforo Colombo Award for Literary Leadership (2019), and Town of Islip Italian American Heritage Award for Visual & Performing Arts – in Literature (2019). Robert was first inspired by Blake and Whitman in the sixties when everything became not as ordinary as it appeared and he began a life sentence in a metaphoric mind.

His poetry has been widely published in journals, anthologies, and online, including The Haight Ashbury Literary JournalLong Island QuarterlyMobius, Negative CapabilityThe North American Review and Sport Literate; and his poems have been written for art and music. One of the poems, “October’s Opal,” was composed by Yung Shen Hsaio as a four-instrument musical ensemble piece and presented at the 2017 International Rostrum of Composers and Conservatorio Vincenzo Bellini, Palermo, Italy.

Robert is co-editor of two bilingual collections of Italian Americans Poets, No Distance Between Us – Italian American Poets of Long Island and No Distance Between Us – The Next Collection – Italian American Poets of New York State. His books include Fireballs of an Illuminated ScarecrowInside a Turtle Shell and I’m Not the Only One Here. No Distance Between Us (Nessuna Distanza Tra Noi) is scheduled to become a trilogy of Italian American poetry in a cultural tribute to Dante Aligheri. Inside a Turtle Shell, a diverse journey of paths crossed, lost and found, was selected as the second collection in the three-volume Turtle Island Series (Allbook Books).

Robert lives in West Islip, NY, with his wife and enjoys the role of poetry mentor.

Gwenn Nusbaum is honored to help create the Gwenn A. Nusbaum Scholarship on behalf of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, with a mission to support—in the words and humanistic sensibility of Whitman—”poets to come.” She is grateful for support from the Board of Trustees, acknowledging Jack Coulehan and Jeffrey Gould for their financial contributions to this program. Gwenn also appreciates the talented scholarship applicants and is pleased that as of 2025, we will also recognize an Honorary Mention recipient as well as our Scholarship Award winner.

Gwenn “always resonated with the indelible power of poetry with its unique economy of language and capacity to heal both writer and reader.” A poet and writer herself since high school, Gwenn received a Pushcart Nomination, Honorary Mention, and a Gradiva Nomination. Her poems have appeared in several print and on-line poetry journals. Her chapbook, “Normal War”, is currently archived at Poets House in New York City.

Published also in the field of psychoanalytic and group therapy for women with histories of childhood sexual traumas, Gwenn maintained a private psychotherapy as well as teaching practice in the East Village of Manhattan for 40 years, retiring at the end of 2022.  

Having worked with creatives throughout much of her career, Gwenn pivoted to the coaching component of her private practice, specializing in work with creators of all genres as well as clients committed to personal growth. She is accredited as a Senior Coach and Mentor from the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring and is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s in Social Work from New York University.


Click any tab below to learn more about the scholarship guidelines.

Must be a US Resident of 25-35 years of age.

Demonstrate a scholastic or pre-professional track of outstanding poetic writing; all poetic forms, styles, types, themes and topics are acceptable.

Online submissions only:  visit

Applicant MUST include the following

  1. CV or Resume
  2. Ten (10) Poems
  3. Cover Letter

Please provide a cover letter with your name, address, email, phone, and a CV or Resume (no more than three pages).  CV should contain your education history, publication history, awards, performances and readings, and, if applicable, any past poetry projects. Cover letter should include a statement of intent for professional writing goals.  Cover letter should indicate expenditure plans for the scholarship funds.  Please include contact information for one reference who will be emailed if the applicant moves to the finalist stage.

Honorarium of $1800 must be used within one (1) year of endowment (July 1, 2025 – July 1, 2026).

Funding to be used for supportive activities to further the writing career: for example,  writing courses and workshops; writing conferences; writing retreats, or other approved activities.

WWBA Award Committee shall be supportive of the Honoree and will offer approval for intended use(s) of honorarium.

Honoree shall maintain contact with WWBA Award Committee.

Honoree shall demonstrate significant progress as described in a final report to the WWBA Award Committee.  This may be a summary and/or short video of experiences toward growth, productivity and achievement of goals. 

Honoree receives a onetime scholarship of $1800.
Honorable Mention receives a onetime award of $150.

WWBA offers Association support which may include use of the WWBA Archive & Library, consultations with Archive Curator,  letters of introduction, and promotional articles and activities.

Honoree will be featured on WWBA website.
Honoree is invited to conclude their award year with a poetry reading at the Whitman Birthplace in person or via Zoom at the Award Ceremony in June 2026.

Good luck to all Applicants
Address questions to:   Caitlyn Shea, WWBA Executive Director:


POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known,

Arouse! for you must justify me.
I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,
I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

-Walt Whitman