The three high stripers for 2011 have been REVEALED!

In 2011, no fewer than 65 poetry pamphlets were reviewed on Sphinx.

That was 195 reviews, three for each publication.

As you probably know, Sphinx reviewers not only write a review in the ordinary way, they make a rating, using four categories:

  • production values
  • quality of the poetry
  • coherence of the collection
  • strength of recommendation.

Generally, any publication getting six stripes or above is worthy of note, and it’s likely at least one of the reviewers has liked it  a lot. The rating process, though, is a tricky one. Without doubt it does happen that two reviewers rate high, while the third does the reverse. The way we evaluate poetry (and much else) is . . . subjective.

To get a very high stripe rating, a publication must impress all three reviewers.

In 2011, 17 of the 65 publications achieved eight stripes. This is a significant accolade. It suggests just over a quarter of pamphlets sent in for review are indubitably of a high standard –not just the poetry, the production values and so on. But poetry pamphlets have upped their game, have they not? Some fabulous things are springing from the presses these days.

Three publications achieved even higher ratings. At 8.5 stripes. They were:

And finally (roll of drums please and ta-da!), the nine-stripers and therefore leaders in the field for 2011 were:

Congratulations to Luke, Kirsten and Tony! May your stripes never grow shorter.

Meanwhile, you can find the latest reviews for 2012 on  None of these so far have attained nine stripes but some are pretty close . . .