During her lifetime (1915-1981), Isabella Gardner published four distinguished books of poetry, including That Was Then: New and Selected Poems (BOA, 1980). That Was Then featured cover art and a frontispiece by noted photographer Aaron Siskind and was nominated for the American Book Award. Shortly before her death in 1981, Isabella Gardner was selected as the first recipient of the New York State Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poetry. The great-niece of Isabella Stewart Gardner and a cousin of Robert Lowell, Gardner was a professional actress for several years before moving to Chicago, where she served as an associate editor of Poetry magazine from 1952-1956. In 1990, BOA published Isabella Gardner: The Collected Poems as part of its American Poets Continuum Series. Thanks to the generous funding of the Gardner family, BOA was able to establish the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. This biennial award recognizes a mid-career poet with a book of exceptional merit while honoring Isabella Gardner’s legacy as a champion of young, gifted poets.