The Caterpillar is not only a beautifully produced, high quality quarterly children’s magazine featuring stories, poetry and art, but also has a rather spiffing annual poetry competition. The prize is one thousand euros and publication in the mag. Judging is by renowned children’s poet Chrissie Giffins. Entry is open to anyone over 16 but the poem must not have been published or online. Entry costs twelve euros per poem and entry details can be found here on the website. Closing date is end of March so why not sort through those poems and give it a shot!
My poem The Haunted School is published in this month’s Writer’s News, part of Writing Magazine. I wrote it especially for their children’s poetry competition; the first line just popped into my head and that dictated the theme and the rhyme for the rest. I have decided to plough the second place prize money back into my writing and will be putting it towards a critique at some point in the future. For now I will continue carrying my magazine around and pushing it into people’s faces. “Look! It’s me!”
My poem ‘I waited but you didn’t come’ features in this year’s Rhyme and Reason publication, a desk diary featuring prose and poetry on the theme of time. Rhyme and Reason is a fundraising group which raises money for a great cause, the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home. I’m looking forward to reading the winning entries in the diary, as well as the other entries like mine which were picked for inclusion. If you’re looking for a unique and thoughtful Christmas present, why not order a copy yourself? It’s available on the Iain Rennie shop website at http://www.irhh.org/sitehome/shop/showproduct.php?productID=137.
My poem Who Killed King Rat? appears in this season’s edition of The Cat, the magazine of the Cat Protection League. The illustrator, Rasoul Hudda, has done a wonderful job with his depiction of a stately King Rat in procession, supremely confident, while behind him in the shadows lurks a killer (actually my kitten Badger, who surprised me with a dead rat and inspired the poem). The picture brought a whole new angle to my poem.
You can see more of Rasoul’s vibrant and enchanting work here. I love his cartoon of a cat creeping on to its owner’s knee and popping up underneath the newspaper.
Admiring Rasoul’s illustration made me think further on how vital illustrations are to children’s books, especially picture books where the pictures contribute just as much, if not more, than the text. Who can imagine Maurice Sendak‘s Where the Wild Things are without its distinctive illustrations? And what would Alice and Winnie the Pooh have been like without Tenniel or EH Shepard? As picture books merge into apps, creating graphic heavy interactive hybrids like The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Maurice Lessmore, the illustrator can only become even more vital to the creation of great literature for children.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
I posted this short slideshow to Youtube some time ago but I’m still proud of it – it’s a montage of ‘faces’ I found in the trees that made me think of ancient gods, trapped and silenced.