Best New Poets 2016 will only accept submissions from writers who have NOT published a book-length poetry collection. This includes self-published books if they were sold online, in stores, or at readings. 

Poets with forthcoming books may enter if their first book's publication date is after November 1, 2016.

Writers who have edited and published an anthology or a similar collection of other writers' works remain eligible.

Writers also cannot be:

  • 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 editors, Jeb Livingood and Angie Hogan.
  • friends, family, or former and current students* of our 2016 editor, Mary Szybist.
  • former or current University of Virginia MFA students  
  • poets featured in our 2015 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.


Work submitted must be unpublished work, or work published after January 1, 2015 for which the writer currently retains all rights (allowing the writer to publish it again).

Because many of our initial readers are former or current editors of Meridian, poems previously published in Meridian are NOT eligible.


Writers in the open competition may enter as many times as they desire, but may only submit two poems per submission. 

Poems under consideration for our anthology may be simultaneously submitted to other magazines.

Writers nominated by literary magazine and programs may also submit additional work to the open competition.