Modeled on the famous United States competition, the first annual Best New British and Irish Poets competition was open to any poet of British or Irish citizenship and/or U.K. or Irish residency who has not yet published or will not publish a full-length collection prior to 1 June 2016. Poems submitted for consideration could have appeared in print before, or in a pamphlet, but not online. Poets about to have full collections out from Eyewear Publishing, including Ben Parker and Maria Apichella, were ineligible for inclusion.
A large number of poems came in from all corners of Great Britain and from across Ireland, from thrilling new voices and established older writers – all poets likely to soon publish full collections in print. These poets are, if you like, the “rising stars” of poetry in these isles. What was impressive was the age range and geographical range of these poets, as well as that of their styles – from lyrical to avant-garde and performance-oriented work. Traditional poems rub shoulders with prose poetry and innovative forms and styles.
The final fifty poets selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best New British and Irish Poets are, in alphabetical order by first name:
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