Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award Opens for Submissions

24th September 2021

Poetry Ireland and Stanford University are delighted to announce a new poetry award in honour of Eavan Boland. Submissions open today (Friday 24 September 2021) in recognition of Eavan's birth date. 

The Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award is an award for 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.” 

The Eavan Boland Emerging Poet 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  

Applications open on 24 September and will close on 5 November 12.00 noon (IST) and 4.00am (ETD). 

Full details about the Award and the submission link are on the Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award Page.


Eavan Boland 
Cherished as perhaps the outstanding poet of her generation, Eavan’s imprint as an artist was truly global. She played an inspiring role to emerging Irish writers throughout her career, most recently as Editor of Poetry Ireland Review (2017-2019), and spent a quarter century at Stanford University, guiding the artistic development of some of America’s finest young writers. She posthumously won the Costa Poetry Award for her collection, The Historians, in January 2021, described by the judges as having "some of the finest lines of poetry written this century." 

Paula Meehan was born in 1955 in Dublin where she still lives. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and in the MFA programme at Eastern Washington University. Besides seven award-winning poetry collections she has also written plays for both adults and children. As If By Magic: Selected Poems, published 1st of October, 2020, by Dedalus Press, presents a generous offering of poetry made in the last thirty years. From 2013 to 2016 she was Ireland Professor of Poetry and her lectures from the Chair,  Imaginary Bonnets with Real Bees in Them,  is published by UCD Press. A collection of critical essays on her poetry and plays, edited by Jody Allen Randolph, was published by the U.S. journal An Sionnach. Awards include the Butler Award of the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Laurence O’Shaughnessy Award, the Denis Devlin Award and the Marten Toonder Award. 

Jane Hirshfield's most recent, ninth book of poetry is Ledger (Knopf, U.S. /  Bloodaxe, U.K.,  2020). Other books include two collections of essays on the infrastructure craft and broader role of poetry, and four books collecting and co-translating world poets from the deep past. She was elected in 2019 into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her many honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, National Endowment for the Arts, and Academy of American Poets, and her work, which has been translated into over a dozen languages,  appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, TLS, The Irish Times, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Hirshfield has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, and elsewhere.