How To Join Poetry Writing Competitions

Poetry competitions are gaining popularity nowadays especially with the advent of writing poetry online. Poetry contests encourage writers to be more creative and foster this kind of art that has been around for decades. Writing competitions has also been around for a while including competitions for short story, novel writing or even for haiku.

Here are some things you need to know about joining poetry competitions.

  1. Type.  There are different types of poetry writing competitions and they are classified according to their different criteria and requirements as well. 
  2. Age limit.  Some competitions have restrictions when it comes to age bracket.
  3. Prize.  While most contests have cash prizes, there are some that offer winning entries to be published as a mode of recognition. Cash payment may be given upon publishing your work, but some prefer the publication of their works to cash.
  4. Sponsors.  Certain foundations, commercial companies, publishing companies or poetry societies sponsor poetry competitions. While they may not be entirely different, winners may get more mileage for their works if a specific group sponsors the competition they joined.
  5. Length. This is a general rule across all competitions. You have to watch a certain length for your entries in order to qualify.
  6. Subject Matter.  Some competitions look for specific subject matters as entries to their competition. Make sure you know what these are first before sending entries.
  7. Entry fee. Some competitions required entry fees for participants. For some, there are different rates depending on the number of entries you are submitting.

Here are some of the most popular poetry writing competitions to date.

  1. National Poetry Competition. This is considered the top poem contest in Britain. Giving out big cash prizes, it is one of the most looked-forward to contests in poetry.
  2. Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.  Sponsored by the Foyle Foundation, this contest is open to participants aged 11-17. Aside from recognition and cash prizes, winners get to be on the Arvon Residency course for 7 days or they get to receive a visit by a team of distinguished poets from the Poetry Society.
  3. The Hamish Canham Poetry Prize. Awards cash prize and the chance for poems to be published in the Poetry News for the poetry society member who wins this competition. 

Also, before you submit entries, make sure that you are joining legitimate contests. There are some websites and community forums giving out warnings about fraudulent contests. These ‘scam’ contests promise cash prizes and recognition, but they are just made up to get submissions and pass them on publishers, websites, and other contests as well, as theirs.

Poetry is a form of art, and for you to succeed in poetry writing, you just have to be yourself and get inspiration from things that truly delights you or situations you draw emotions from. As challenging as it is to write, it is far more challenging (and rewarding as well) to be writing poetry. 


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