The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce the Next Generation Poets 2014, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland.
To keep up to date with all the latest on our national and international tours, to see interviews and readings by the 20 poets, Ian McMillan's comments and all the details of our reading groups scheme, head over to nextgenerationpoets.com. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.
The 20 poets are chosen only once every ten years and expected to dominate the poetry landscape of the coming decade. Women look set to lead the charge, making up 60 percent of the list, including: South London based performance poet Kate Tempest; Lucian Freud's daughter, Annie Freud; the youngest ever T S Eliot Prize winner, Jen Hadfield; and five-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, Helen Mort. At 27 years old, Tempest is the youngest of the 2014 cohort, while Freud is the list's oldest at 66.
The rare accolade - which in previous decades recognised the talents of Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, Alice Oswald and Owen Sheers - aims to highlight emerging poets from the UK and Ireland who published their first collection of poetry within the last ten years.
Also among the chosen 20 are 2009 Man Booker Prize shortlistee and Granta ‘Best Young Novelist' Adam Foulds; Daljit Nagra, who has won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and has been shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and the Costa Poetry Award; and Sam Willetts, whose collection focuses on the years he spent homeless and addicted to heroin.
The 2014 Next Generation Poets list in full:
Tara Bergin (This is Yarrow, Carcanet)
Emily Berry (Dear Boy, Faber & Faber)
Sean Borodale (Bee Journal, Jonathan Cape)
Adam Foulds (The Broken Word, Jonathan Cape)
Annie Freud (The Mirabelles, Picador)
Alan Gillis (Here Comes the Night, Gallery)
Rebecca Goss (Her Birth, Carcanet)
Jen Hadfield (Nigh-No-Place, Bloodaxe)
Emma Jones (The Striped World, Faber & Faber)
Luke Kennard (The Harbour Beyond the Movie, Salt)
Melissa Lee-Houghton (Beautiful Girls, Penned in the Margins)
Hannah Lowe (Chick, Bloodaxe)
Kei Miller (A Light Song of Light, Carcanet)
Helen Mort (Division Street, Chatto & Windus)
Daljit Nagra (Look We Have Coming to Dover!, Faber & Faber)
Heather Phillipson (Instant-flex 718, Bloodaxe)
Kate Tempest (Brand New Ancients, Picador)
Mark Waldron (The Brand New Dark, Salt)
Sam Willetts (New Light for the Old Dark, Jonathan Cape)
Jane Yeh (The Ninjas, Carcanet)
The judges were chaired by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan and the panel comprised poet and playwright Caroline Bird; Robert Crawford, from the 1994 New Generation Poets list; poet Clare Pollard; and Paul Farley, from 2004's Next Generation Poets list. The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage are patrons of Next Generation Poets 2014 and Warsan Shire, Young Poet Laureate of London, is a Young Patron.
McMillan said: ‘The Next Generation Poets are the visible and vocal evidence that poetry is on the crest of the wave at the moment. These poets will be leading our national cultural conversation for many years to come. In this group of writers we find an exhilarating mix of style and subject, reflecting a truly diverse range of voices: poetry is in excellent hands! The quality of these collections was hugely impressive but not surprising - most of these poets have been paying their dues for years now on the events circuit and cutting their teeth with short pamphlets. In this way the poetry scene differs from fiction where you often see debut novelists appearing seemingly out of the blue. Poets are made to prove themselves long before their first full collection is ever published.'
Fellow judge Clare Pollard said: ‘It was an honour to help select the poets who will lead the way for the next decade. I wanted to discover and recognise poets who were doing something new: tackling fresh subject matter, taking both emotional and literary risks. As evidenced in our extraordinary list, female poets seem to be particularly fearless at the moment, with names such as Emily Berry and Melissa Lee-Houghton shaking up and reinvigorating the poetry scene.In addition, I was struck by how many of the collections are in fact sequences, heralding a return to book-length narratives: long-poems. There are some incredible storytellers in this list, with tales about family, loss, drugs, madness, colonialism, love or war every bit as gripping as any novel.'
Next Generation Poets also aims to bring high-quality poetry to a wider audience and to encourage dialogue around poetry by bringing together past nominees with the newly listed poets. This autumn will also see an extensive programme of 23 events involving past and current poets, culminating in a celebration at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 15th March 2015, to which all the poets will be invited.
For the first time in the list's history, video readings, poems and blog posts from the poets, together with video comments from Ian McMillan, will be gathered and made available at www.nextgenerationpoets.com from 11th September. The Poetry Book Society has also created a wide range of display material for the book trade, and a reader guide booklet for audiences at the events. Keen readers will also be able to access a reader's package from the website, made up of specially commissioned reading group notes and three poems from each shortlisted collection.
Next Generation Poets 2014 is supported by ACE Grants for the Arts. It is also funded by the T S Eliot Estate as part of a year of supporting poetry to mark the 50th anniversary of T S Eliot's death in January 2015.
The British Council will be collaborating with the Poetry Book Society on an international showcase of contemporary British poetry featuring the Next Generation Poets 2014. The first events in the international programme, including readings, conversations and workshops, will be announced in March 2015 and will take place in countries including Bangladesh, India and Brazil from September 2015.