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Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award

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Ben Simmons

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Emerging poets – the deadline for the Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award is approaching, on 5 November. 

This new award, organised by Poetry Ireland and Stanford University, is in honour of poet Eavan Boland. It will be awarded to two emerging poets, one from Ireland and one from the United States, and is presented with the support of the Boland/ Casey family.

The Award has been made possible with the generous support of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Embassy, Dublin. 

Niamh O’Donnell, Director of Poetry Ireland said, “Eavan always argued that space for new voices must be made, and diversity in all its forms must be cherished, so we at Poetry Ireland are delighted that this award represents these values so well.”

Eavan was a relentless advocate for emerging poets, particularly those whose work risked being overlooked. She was a poet revolutionary, a searing talent, and a formidable artist. To her peers, students, and readers, she was an exemplar of courage, generosity, and unfailing friendship. 

As she wrote herself “New voices in an old art – and women poets have been that for much more than a century – do not diminish the art through the category. They enrich it. They renew it with common quandaries of craft and innovation.”   

In her editorial for Poetry Ireland Review 125, Eavan memorably wrote, “the margin re-defines the centre, and not the other way around. But that margin has to be visible, has to be vocal, has to be sustained by new critiques as well as new poems.”

Two judges have been appointed; Paula Meehan in Ireland and Jane Hirshfield in the U.S. 

Paula Meehan said, “This award is a perfect way to honour the much loved and greatly missed Irish poet Eavan Boland. That it is offered jointly by two communities she was so committed to, Poetry Ireland and the Writing Programme at Stanford University, and that it embodies her belief in nurturing the emerging poet with resources as well as with honour, would, I believe, have pleased her more than any other memorial. She was a radical force in poetry; she changed the very terms of engagement. This award celebrates her indomitable spirit and offers the emerging poet the most precious gift of all — time to write.” 

Jane Hirshfield said, “Eavan Boland’s work made visible lives that had not been visible, gave voice to the unvoiced, and, phrase by phrase, proved the indispensable force of art in the knowing of our history and our human lives. Her poems expanded the reach and vision of the art.  As a mentor of fierce devotion, her fostering of emerging poets was legendary. This honor, bestowed in two countries, is an unsurpassable way to bring her gifts of inclusive embrace, discerning spirit, intimate encounter, and creative generosity into new voices, lives, and poems.

Award Details

  • The Award
    The Eavan Boland Award will create an annual opportunity for two emerging poets.  Each poet will receive €1,700, as well as three mentoring sessions by leading poets over the course of four months 
  • Dates
    Applications open on 24 September 2021 (Eavan’s 77th birthday) and will close on 5 November 12.00 noon (IST) and 4.00am (ETD)
  • Criteria
    Applicants should have a demonstrated commitment to writing poetry. This may include: 

    • a strong track record of publication in journals and/or received awards 
    • details of live performances or readings 
    • examples of workshops or courses taken 
  • This opportunity is for emerging poets who have not yet published a full first collection, but are working towards it, or a performance equivalent (being published in chapbooks/pamphlets does not exclude an applicant). 
  • Submissions – Applications will be accepted via Submittable. 
    Artists will be asked to complete an online form supplying a short biography, a 500-word cover letter on their work, their suitability for the award, and the unique perspective they are writing from, and five pages of poetry. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented voices and communities. 
  • Awardees
    Announcement of the awardees will be made on 15 December 2021.
  • Who can Apply?
    Irish poets or poets living in Ireland and US poets or poets living in the U.S. 
  • Event
    A transatlantic event will be held with the awardees, their mentors, and other guest artists on 27 April 2022. 

More information and where to apply is available via the link :  

https://www.poetryireland.ie/writers/opportunities/eavan-boland-emerging-poet-award-opens-240921

Text provided by Poetry Ireland

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