Eligibility

The Poems

  • The poems submitted for Best New Poets 2021 must either be unpublished work or work published after January 1, 2020 (and where the writer currently retains all rights allowing the writer to publish it again without permission from another magazine or publisher).
  • Because many of our initial readers are former or current editors of Meridian, poems previously published in Meridian are NOT eligible.

The Poet

  • Best New Poets 2017Best New Poets 2021 is a book for emerging writers. We will only accept submissions from writers who have NOT yet published a book-length poetry collection. This includes self-published books if they were sold online, in stores, or at readings. For the purposes of BNP eligibility, we do not consider chapbooks to be "book length," and poets with only chapbook publications remain eligible to enter.
  • Poets with forthcoming books may enter if their first book's publication date is after April 1, 2021.
  • Writers who have edited and published an anthology or a collection of other writers' works remain eligible.

To help reduce the appearance of any bias, we ask poets with significant connections to UVA, Meridian, and the editors not to enter. Poets with the following connections to our anthology should not enter:

  • former editors or staff of Meridian
  • friends, former professors, or family of current Meridian editors and staff
  • friends, family, or former and current students* of the series editor, Jeb Livingood
  • friends, family, or former and current students* of our guest editor, Kaveh Akbar
  • former or current University of Virginia MFA in Creative Writing students
  • former UVA undergraduate APLP or APPW students who graduated after April 2016
  • poets featured in the prior year's anthology

* We define a "student" as someone who has done semester-length coursework with the editors, or someone for whom the editors served as an undergraduate or master's level thesis advisor. Poets who attended 1-2 week workshops or retreats with the editors remain eligible.

If you believe you might have disqualifying ties to the University of Virginia, the editors, or the reading pool that are not explicitly mentioned above, write to our series editor before entering.


Multiple and Simultaneous Submissions

  • Writers in the open competition may enter as many times as they desire, but we recommend two or three entries at most.
  • Writers nominated by literary magazines and programs may submit additional work to the open competition.
  • Poems under consideration for our anthology may be simultaneously submitted to other magazines and competitions. However, if your work is accepted by Best New Poets, you must immediately withdraw it from consideration everywhere else.