Skip to Content

Next Generation Poets 2014 - is this how to promote poetry?

15 September 2014

So just how do you go about promoting poetry and poets? There are lots of answers to this and many poets are very successful at promoting themselves through a combination of their publisher's efforts or self-publishing, through readings, performances and getting their work into poetry magazines, online or other kinds of promotion. An initiative launched on Thursday has a different answer, which may be of burning interest to the many writers reading this whose focus is on writing poetry.

Next Generation Poets 2014 is the third such promotion and it starts off with finding the 20 most exciting new poets who have published their first collections in the UK and Ireland in the last decade.

Its predecessors were New Generation Poets, which produced such well-known names as the UK Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and 18 others in 1994, and Next Generation Poets, which included Alice Oswald, Patience Agbabi and Gwyneth Lewis and 17 others in 2004.

This time the list shows a surge in young women poets, particularly those who have published their first collection in the last year or two, demonstrating the greater visibility of women poets as compared to ten years ago. The larger number of poets from diverse backgrounds coming to prominence was reflected in the inclusion of four poets with that background, as opposed to one last time. The judges were all poets and Ian McMillan (chair) Caroline Bird, Robert Crawford, Paul Farley and Clare Pollard, came up with some interesting choices, although choosing the 20 can't have been easy.

The lucky 20 are already benefiting from video interviews and readings, which are on the website, together with video comments on the list and on individual poets from Macmillan. There's an intriguing blog from John Burnside about New Generation Poets and a cheering one from Clare Pollard on how New Generation Poets brought her into poetry when she was a teenager.

The poets will take part in 23 events around the UK, culminating in a big event in London at which all 20 poets will be invited to read. A Reading Group scheme aims to reach new poetry readers in reading groups and a fantastic initiative from the British CouncilThis government-supported body is best-known for its activities overseas, but in fact provides a great deal of information which is of interest to writers.
Their UK Literature Festivals provides a full listing, but this is only as up to date as the information supplied by the individual festival organizers.
will allow the poets to tour internationally from September 2015. In the meantime we can enjoy their work and the spectacle of new (and mostly young) poets finding new confidence and visibility through getting their work out to new audiences.

The press release

The website