The Rhyslings were created by the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) in 1978.
The award is presented annually in two categories: long poem (50 lines or more) and shorter works (less than 50 lines). The awards are voted upon by members of SFPA, with members allowed to nominate one poem in each category each year.
Winners have included Gene Wolfe, Michael Bishop, Thomas M. Disch, John M. Ford, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, and Walter Jon Williams.
The name of the award comes from the name of the blind poet in the SF story "The Green Hills of Earth" and others by Robert A. Heinlein.
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