Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award

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, Ireland.

Competition opens for entries on Eavan Boland’s birthday (24 September).

Niamh O’Donnell, Director of Poetry Ireland has 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.”


The Eavan Boland Award will create an annual opportunity for two emerging poets. Each poet will receive €1,700, as well as three intensive mentoring sessions by leading poets over the course of four months.


Paula Meehan in Ireland and Jane Hirshfield in the United States of America.


Applications opened on 24 September 2021 (Eavan’s 77th birthday) and will close on 5 November at 12 noon IST and 4.00am ETD


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).

Awardees Announcement of the awardees will be made on 15 December 2021.


A transatlantic event will be held with the awardees, their mentors, and other guest artists on 27 April 2022. Details TBC.

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.