Competitions · Poetry

Poetry Competitions

There are always plenty of poetry competitions on the web – some free, and some asking for a small payment.  It’s a great way to flex your literary muscles, and build up a nice collection of poems on the way.  Often the competition will dictate the subject matter, and I enjoy the challenge of producing a poem to order.  Recently I entered the Marriott Hotels wedding poetry competition, and the Cats Protection League Writing Competition.  Both were free but the Cats Protection League suggested a donation of £5, which I was happy to pay, being a mad cat lady (MCL) myself.  I really enjoyed writing both my poems, and although I didn’t get anywhere in the Marriott competition, I was delighted to be a runner up in the Cats Protection League competition with my cat poem Who Killed King Rat.  They say write about what you know, and my poem relates the time I went up to my bedroom to find an enormous dead rat curled up on the carpet.  The circumstances of its death are still a mystery!

A few days after hearing the results, a huge box arrived at my house.  I knew I’d won a dictionary, but have never seen one as huge as this!  The problem is I have no shelves large enough to house it, so it’s leaning up against the fireplace, ready to be delved into when needed.  And I’m looking forward to seeing my poem in the autumn edition of The Cat magazine.

If you fancy trying your luck with entering a few poetry competitions, you might like to look at these links to get you started.

Alight Here

Alight Here is a site publishing poems (and photos) inspired by London’s underground stations.  So not a competition, but an interesting, well put together site with a possible anthology to follow.

Every Day Poets

A similar site to Alight Here, publishing – you guessed it – a poem a day.  No payment or fees but exposure of your poem – prepare to be rated by your peers!

MAG poetry prize

The MAG poetry prize at Poetic Republic is a knock-out poetry competition.  As part of your entry you also judge other poems.  Take part for the fun of it and the chance to enjoy others’ work.

Rhyme & Reason

This fundraising group raise money for the Iain Rennie hospice through writing competitions.  This year’s poems (or prose) should be on the theme of ‘Time’ and the best entries will be published in a desk diary.  The prize is £110 and it’s for a great cause.  The deadline is the end of June 2011.

Lupus UK poetry competition

Another competition for a good cause – to raise money for people with Lupus.  Entries should be less than 40 lines and cost £4.  The closing date is 31 May 2011.

And if you’re feeling really brave you can try…


Agenda is a highly respected poetry journal.  Their competition, closing on 31 May 2011, offers a prize of £1000 and costs £4 to enter.  Expect some tough competition.

And finally, the big one…

The Bridport Prize

This prestigious competition is judged by Carol Ann Duffy, so best work only!  It costs £6 to enter and the winners are published in an anthology.  The first prize is £5000.  Aim high – who knows what could happen?

For more details of writing competitions, visit the excellent (and witty) Prize Magic site.


10 thoughts on “Poetry Competitions

  1. This is a fabulous aid to us scribes, and one we should be able to use with or without success! I particularly like the idea of having work critiqued. The online Writer’s site I used to share worked really well in that aspect – just a shame it was mostly American members, and often the gist of the piece was lost in the cultural differences. Nevertheless, it was a good experience as looking at another’s piece of work in order to help them, proved invaluable in tightening and improving my own work.

    Thanks Lou – again!

  2. Just to say I’ve earmarked 3 poems for Agenda and will be sending them off forthwith so, watch this space! ;0)

  3. Music
    The sounds
    Are surrounding me

    Loving the music
    Calming you down

    all the subjects

    Healing your soul
    Loving your spirit

    The sounds
    Are surrounding me

    Refreshing the memory
    Of the old times

    Music brings us together
    People from all around

    Making us happy
    Like never before

  4. Lou my daughter is disabled and I wrote a short book re starting school and accepting diversity, I also have another idea for a book re puberty and being disabled, any idea how I could get them published pleased, I am going round in circles, but not the right ones lol. cheers Glen Fletcher Ms.

    1. Hi Glen, that sounds like a great idea for a book. Publishers are becoming much more aware of diversity issues and are keen to include characters with disabilities, especially from authors with direct experience themselves. Have you looked at my post about publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts? If you click on the links, most of their websites tell you exactly what you need to submit to them. If it doubt, you usually need to send (or email, if they accept it) the first three chapters and a one page synopsis (summary of the story). A covering letter briefly introducing yourself and the book is also useful. Here are the links:

      Publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts
      How to write a synopsis

      If you need any more help just shout!

  5. Thanks for taking the time to reply to me Lou, I do appreciate it. x My books are thin and have about12 to 14 pages of illusrations with a few words or signs to enable all abilities to understand the message or story..
    I can manage the synopsis no probs, but it’s the 3 chapters I’d struggle with..
    I will email the contacts you’ve kindly provided for me and see how I get on.
    Thanks Glen x

    1. If they are thin and don’t break up into chapters, or even if they do but the chapters are very short, I would advise sending the whole manuscript. That’s the norm with picture books. Good luck!

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