Awardees of the 2021 Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award are announced

15th December 2021

Poetry Ireland and Stanford University are delighted to announce that Emma Tobin from Ireland and Lauren Green from the U.S. are the awardees of the inaugural Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award. 
 
The award scheme creates an annual opportunity for two emerging poets, each of whom will receive €1,700, as well as three mentoring sessions by leading poets over the course of four months.  

The award was established in celebration of poet Eavan Boland, who was a relentless advocate for emerging poets, particularly those whose work risked being overlooked, and is being presented with the support of the Casey/Boland family. The award has been made possible with the generous support of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Embassy, Dublin.  

Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell, said, “This new Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award is a highlight of our year. Eavan was a champion of new voices, she cherished inclusivity and ferociously pushed open doors for countless poets. Poetry Ireland and the Casey/Boland family are so pleased to run this award to recognise and celebrate the life and the work of Eavan, representing the very essence of who she was as an artist and person.  

“Eavan always argued that space for new voices must be made and we’re delighted that this mission continues through the award. Congratulations to Emma and Lauren on their awards and we very much look forward to seeing how their work develops, with the support of their mentors. And a big thank you to everyone who entered, and to our two judges, Paula Meehan and Jane Hirshfield.” 

More than 200 poets submitted work during the entry period between late September and early November. It was open to emerging poets who have not yet published a first full collection, but are working towards it, or a performance equivalent.  
 
Emma Tobin is a 24-year-old poet from Newbridge, Co Kildare, and has been published in The Irish Times and in Caveat Lector, UCD LitSoc’s student publication. Emma has an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing from University College Dublin, and is currently a PhD student at the university.  
 
Emma said, “I am stunned and overjoyed to have my poetry recognised by an award in honour of Eavan Boland, who was a tireless champion for marginalised poets whose work sought to challenge what it meant to make art and be human. It is my first belief that art – and particularly poetry – is a space where we can reimagine both our histories and our futures. It’s humbling to be one of the first ever recipients of an award that will no doubt inspire new voices in poetry for many years to come.” 

Lauren Green is currently based in New York City. Her work has appeared in American Short FictionConjunctions, and Joyland, amongst other publications. Her chapbook, A Great Dark House, is forthcoming from the Poetry Society of America. Lauren has a BA from Columbia University and received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin. 

Lauren said, “It is a tremendous honour to receive this award, which embodies Eavan Boland’s expansive generosity and devotion to emerging poets. Hidden inner lives, overlooked daily occurrences—these are the depths through which Boland's poems trawl. She brought to the surface a keen understanding of the human experience, and in doing so, flooded them with light. I hope, in some way, that my work can reflect a spark of the compassion, perspicacity, and force of spirit she so fiercely embraced.” 

Poetry Ireland is planning a transatlantic event which will be held with the awardees, their mentors, and other guest artists in April/May 2022. More details to be announced.  

The shortlist in full for the Award:

  • Nithy Kasa
  • Erin Traynor
  • Hussain Ahmed
  • Sonya Lara