Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – May 2018

April’s gone, the sun has appeared, winter is finally behind us and with 100 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in May, there’s plenty to put a Spring in your step this month! #sorrynotsorry

Whether you were NaPoWriMo-ing or simply reading your way through National Poetry Month, I hope you’ve found lots to inspire you in April. Here in Ireland, we celebrated our National Poetry Day on the 26th and I was delighted to take part in a guerilla art project #LabelLit, a kind of poetry treasure hunt where poets in Ireland and beyond, shared micro poems on luggage labels and tied them up in their favourite places to be found by passersby. The project is the brainchild of poet Maria McManus – if you’d like to know more, check out this lovely little film about Label Lit.

I was also proud to help launch Autonomy (New Binary Press, 2018), edited by Kathy D’Arcy – an anthology of writing about bodily autonomy, in advance of the upcoming referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution on 25 May – at Books Upstairs and University College Dublin. Every copy purchased contributes to women’s healthcare organisations. Packed full of poetry, prose and essays examining an emotive issue from a multitude of perspectives, it is a powerful collection and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what it means to be a woman living in Ireland, without access to essential healthcare.

I was also lucky enough to attend a workshop on Reviewing Poetry at Poetry Ireland, with Kate Kelloway of The Guardian and The Observer and John MacAuliffe of The Irish Times. I’ll put together a post on their thoughts and observations on appraising poetry shortly.

In the meantime, start submitting and best of luck!

(Click on links below for info)

May 2018

Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award – Poetry (unpublished poets – 6-10 poems) – closes 1 May (submit online)

Poetry London Clore Prize – Poetry – closes 1 May (submit online)

Porridge – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Art and more – closes 1 May (submit online)

The Stony Thursday Poetry Book – Poetry – closes 4 May (submit online)

Tap Lit Mag – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction – closes 5 May (submit online)

The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – Poetry, theme: Corridors & Passageways – closes 7 May (submit online)

Dublin Book Festival Call for Submissions – Authors & Publishers – closes 11 May (submit online)

Bennington Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-Fiction – closes 15 May (submit online)

Paper Nautilus Vella Chapbook Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-Fiction (16-24 pages) – closes 15 May (submit online)

Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction (Unpublished writers only) – closes 15 May (submit online)

The Boiler – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Art – closes 15 May (submit online)

Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize – Poetry (17-24 pages) – closes 15 May (submit online)

Visual Verse – Poetry, Flash, Non-Fiction – closes 15 May (submit online)





Dodging the Rain – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction and more – closes 18 May (submit online)

Dirty Paws Poetry Review – Poetry – closes 25 May (submit online)

The A3 Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash and more, theme: Moon – closes 25 May (submit online)

The Honest Ulsterman – Poetry, Prose & Critical Writing – closes 25 May (submit online)

Poetry and Psychoanalysis Competition – Poetry – closes 27 May (submit online)

Welsh Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 27 May (submit online)

Kweli Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction (writers of colour only) – closes 30 May (submit online)

Battered Moons Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

Bray Literary Festival Call for Submissions – All genres – closes 31 May (submit online)

Crazyhorse – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – closes 31 May (submit online)

Frogmore Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

Ljubljana International Literary Residency – All genres – closes 31 May (submit online)

Lord Whisky Sanctuary Fund Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

Marble Poetry – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

Strix – Poetry, Fiction – closes 31 May (submit online)

The Bridport Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – closes 31 May (submit online)

The Poets’ Republic – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

The Sewanee Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Review – closes 31 May (submit online)

Under the Radar – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

ZYZZYVA – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Art – closes 31 May (submit online)

Festival of Firsts Open Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 1 June (submit online)

Field Notes – Poetry, Fiction, Essays and more (women, lgbtqia, gender non-conforming, POC, and/or other marginalized voices) – closes 1 June (submit online)

Fourteen Hills – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Art and more – closes 1 June (submit online)

Harvard Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Translation – closes 1 June (submit online)

Helen Literary Magazine – Poetry, Flash, Essays, Art and more (esp. work by people of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled creatives, and other marginalized groups)  – closes 1 June (submit online)

Three Drops Press – Poetry, Micro/Flash, theme: Changelings & Fairy Rings  – closes 1 June (submit online)


Ó Bhéal Five Words – Poetry – deadline each week, annual prize (submit online)

Rattle: Poets Respond – Poetry, theme: current events – deadline each week (submit online)


Paper Swans Poetry Pamphlet Prize – Poetry (18-24 poems) – open 1 March – 30 June (submit online)

Fool for Poetry Competition – Poetry (16-23 pages) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Prole Pamphlet Competition – Poetry (15-30 pages) – closes 30 June (submit online)

UC Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

The North: Irish Issue – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

2 Elizabeths – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

400 & Falling – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Translation, Artwork (emerging writers)  – (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Algebra of Owls – Poetry – open (submit online)

Apple Picking Press – Poetry – open (submit online)

A New Ulster – Poetry, Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

Antiphon – Poetry – open (submit online)

Apartment Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Atrium – Poetry – open (submit online)

Brittle Star – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

By and By Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Carve Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Cheat River Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Disclaimer Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Journalism, themes: Politics, Economics, Art – open (submit online)

Driftwood Press – Poetry, Fiction, Literary Criticism – open (submit online)

Fields Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

FIVE:2:ONE – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork by underrepresented writers (POC, LGTBQ, non-binary, neurodivergent, trauma survivors etc.) – open (submit online)

GFT Press – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – open (submit online)

Gravel – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-Fiction, Artwork – open (submit by post)

Guernica – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Photo Essays – open (submit by post)

HCE Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Photo Essays – open (submit online)

Hosking Houses Trust Residencies – Women writers over 40 (all genres – must have contract to publish / broadcast / perform) – open (submit online)

I Am Not A Silent Poet – Poetry, theme: protesting abuse – open (submit online)

Idler – Poetry, Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

Inside the Bell Jar – Poetry, Fiction, theme: mental illness – open (submit online)

Irish Literary Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

Lighthouse Literary Journal – Poetry & Short Fiction – open (submit online)

LitMag – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

Memorius – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

New Contrast – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

Noepe Center Residency Program – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Plays – open (submit online)

One – Poetry, a single poem – open (submit online)

Poetry Ireland Review – Poetry – open (submit by post)

Poetry Saltzburg – Poetry – open (submit by post or online)

Peepal Tree Press – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction manuscripts from Black & Carribean writers – open (submit online)

Rattle – Poetry – open (submit by post and online)

Riggwelter – Poetry, Short Fiction, Visual Art – open (submit online)

Shakespeare & Co Tumbleweeds Residency – all writers – open (submit online)

South Bank Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Spry Literary Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

Squawk Back – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews, Plays – open (submit online)

Stepaway Magazine – Poetry, Flash Fiction, theme: walking in the city – open (submit online)

The American Journal of Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Brooklyn Quarterly – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Translation, Humour – open (submit online)

The Collapsar – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

The Curlew – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, theme: the natural world – open (submit online)

The Curly Mind – Poetry, theme: experiemental – open (submit online)

The Ellis Review – Poetry, published weekly – open (submit online)

The Galway Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews, Plays – open (submit online)

The Great American Literary Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews, Plays – open (submit online)

The Lascaux Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays – open (submit online)

The MacGuffin – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

The Missouri Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

The Next Review – Poetry, Fiction, Reviews – open (submit online)

The Nottingham Review – Poetry & Fiction – open (submit online)

The Ofi Press Magazine – Poetry & Short Fiction – open (submit online)

The Quill Magazine – Poetry, Prose, All Genres (new writers only) – open (submit online)

The Sea Letter – Poetry, Fiction, Artwork – open (submit online)

The Southeast Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Reviews, Artwork – open (submit online)

The Sun Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Interviews – open (submit online)

Three Drops From a Cauldron – Poetry, Flash, theme: Myth, Folklore, Fables, Fairytales – open (submit online)

Vending Machine Press – Poetry, Flash, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Essay – open (submit online)

Wildness – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – open (submit online)

Best of luck!

If you have a competition or journal with a deadline in May 2018, and it is not included above, feel free to add the details with a link in the comments section below!

(Illustration by Nicole Ray via Etsy)


Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – April 2018

Apologies for the slow start this month – a combination of Easter holidays and the dastardly machinations of my inner ear which keeps telling my brain I’m on the move when I’m not! But never fear there are still over 110 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in April, so plenty of chances to get your work out there.

Running low on poems? Well, April is National Poetry Month, which means it’s also NaPoWriMo time, where masochistic poets all over the world attempt to write a poem a day for 30 days. Due to the aforementioned vertigo, I’m three for six at the moment but the month is young and there’s plenty of time to catch up. If you’d like to join in and are looking for inspiration to write lots of shiny new poems, check out the free NaPoWriMo resources at The Poetry School.

Best of luck!

(Click on links below for info) Continue reading

Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – March 2018

Brrrr! We’re snowed in, here in Dublin, as ‘The Beast From the East’ has most of Ireland and the UK clamped in its jaws. But the good thing about snow days is they’re ideal for reading, writing and for sending your work off to one of over 100 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in March. Let’s put that cabin fever to good use!

While most of us understand the benefit of submitting to journals, I often see writers online asking if it’s worthwhile entering competitions – here are some thoughts on writing competitions from Kit de Waal, prize-winning author of The Times and international bestseller ‘My Name is Leon’, and the forthcoming ‘The Trick to Time’.

Not sure which competitions or opportunities to submit to? Can’t afford all those entry fees? Here’s how to make smart choices when entering poetry competitions.

Best of luck!

(Click on links below for info) Continue reading

Submitting to Poetry Competitions: Which Competition?

I’m struggling with the flu right now but the general BLEUGH has been tempered by some good news on the poetry front.

I’ve had a couple of pieces accepted for a new women-led anthology on bodily autonomy, edited by poet and academic, Kathy D’Arcy, and due to be published by New Binary Press in the Spring. We have a historic referendum coming up in 2018, to repeal the 8th Amendment which compromises women’s healthcare in Ireland, and I’m proud to be among a chorus of voices writing about this important issue.

I’ve also had poems shortlisted and commended in a couple of competitions – the Doolin Writers’ Weekend Poetry Competition and the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2018.

A writer recently asked me, ‘What makes a good competition poem?’ As many of you read this blog for the monthly poetry competitions and submissions list, I thought it might be useful to talk a little bit about submitting work to competitions. I’m no expert but there are certain boxes I like to tick when deciding whether to enter a competition and what poems to send.

Why Submit to Competitions?

For me, it started with not being very confident and wanting to get a sense of whether the poems were any good – did they stand up to scrutiny? I submitted to competitions rather than journals because they are anonymous. I didn’t want to be submitting work over and over to an editor who (in my mind) would roll their eyes and exclaim, ‘Not this eejit again!’. Rejection is a big part of the process of writing and the competition route seemed a gentler introduction to disappointment.

I was very lucky to bag a win early on – a micro-poetry competition – word for word, my best pay-day to date! That early success encouraged me to keep writing and to keep submitting.

I do think it’s a good idea to ask yourself what you want to get out of the experience. It rarely leads to wealth or glory but don’t despair – I have a few ideas about why it might still be worth your while!

Which Competitions?

This is a tricky one. Some competitions are hugely prestigious and attract thousands of entries from around the world. As a rule of thumb, the higher the prize money, the bigger the draw. It means your work will be read alongside – and have to hold its own against – established and extensively published writers.

These competitions are highly competitive. It doesn’t mean younger writers can’t win, especially if they have been writing seriously for a few years and have established a track record of good work, but if you’ve only written a handful of poems then these competitions are probably not a good bet. The idea of winning a major prize as a novice writer is seductive but, generally, they go to writers who have been working at their craft for years.

If you’ve yet to publish a full-length collection of poetry, look out for competitions that specifically target unpublished writers. Your work will be part of a smaller pool and be read alongside writers with a similar level of experience.

What About Competition Fees?

I also see a lot of debate online about the cost of submitting to competitions (and some journals) and how it can be a bar to lower-income poets putting their work forward.

I don’t believe competitions are money-making scams intended to exploit writers. They have legitimate costs that need to be covered – prize money, judge’s fee, administration, technical costs (eg. Web Hosting, Submittable, Paypal). Many offer discounts for multiple entries or membership. If there is a profit, generally it is being plowed back in to activities and publications that support writers. No-one is buying a yacht and retiring to the Caribbean on the back of a poetry competition!

That said, there are always exceptions. If a competition is hosted by an organisation you’ve never heard of, who doesn’t have a strong or transparent online presence and who charge an exorbitant sum for entry, then proceed with caution. Check out a few comparable competitions to establish the going rate.

I know it can seem hard that everyone pays and only a handful benefit, but I like to take a wider view. Nobody owes you anything as a writer – not publication, not prestige, nothing. When I trained as an architect, I had to absorb the cost of tools, equipment, wardrobe, membership fees – all the things I needed to present myself as a working architect. Same goes for writing. Paying to enter competitions and submit to journals is just the cost of doing business. It also helps support organisations and journals that in turn support writers – you’re contributing to a healthy literary community.

I am a low-income poet. I don’t have full-time income to rely on and this means I have to pick and choose the opportunities I pursue. I’m serious about building a body of work, so I set aside an affordable sum to invest in myself as a writer and I only enter competitions when I have work of a suitable standard.

No writer should enter every single poem they write into a competition or enter every competition out there! In one year, I might write 50-100 poems – only a handful of these will be competition standard.


With limited funds and a limited number of suitable poems, I pick my targets carefully. The odds are always against winning but there are better odds on valuable side-benefits. I look for competitions that are democratic, offering the largest number of rewards to the widest group of people.

Poetry Competition Checklist

  • Is the competition run by an established organisation or journal? Making the long/shortlist of a competition held by a reputable literary organisation or journal, eg. The Poetry Society / Magma, builds credibility and increases the chances of your name/work being noticed by other editors, publishers and literary organisations, festival committees etc. It also looks good on a writing CV, if applying for literary jobs, grants or bursaries.
  • Is the judge an established writer? Does the competition publish the judge’s comments? It’s an opportunity to have your work read and possibly selected / commented upon by a writer you would never have access to normally. Having a blurb about your work by an established writer can be helpful when approaching publishers and, again, it’s good for the writing CV.
  • How many principal prize winners? Does the prize money go to a single winner? Look out for competitions that spread the wealth among several winners and offer acknowledgement to runners-up.
  • Is there a published long/shortlist? It’s not feasible to give everyone a prize but it doesn’t cost organisers anything to publish these lists when they are an integral part of the judging process. If a competition attracts 2000 entries, your poem making it to the last 50 puts it in the top 2-3% – that’s no small achievement. Being included on a longlist, or going from the longlist to the shortlist in successive years, gives writers a boost in confidence / credibility and costs the organisers nothing. When writers pay good money to support a competition, I believe organisers should spread the love and offer as much value as possible in return.
  • Will the winners / runners-up / shortlist poems be published? If the competition is run by a reputable journal, it may also offer publication/payment to the top entries, eg. Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. Some competitions offer publication in an anthology. Publication in a reputable journal is always good. I’m warier of competition anthologies. Some are highly regarded and widely read within the literary community, eg, The Forward Prize annual anthology. Others feel like another way to exploit writers, using the writers work without payment and then expecting the writer to pay for a copy of the anthology to have a record of their published work. I’d watch out for the latter. If a writer has paid to enter a competition and the organisers want to use their work for publication, the very least they should do is provide the writer with a copy of that publication. I also have a bit of a bugbear about competitions publishing the entire shortlist without paying for use of the work. Most competitions exclude poems that have been prize-winners in other competitions but if a poem is commended or makes it to the shortlist, it might easily do better in another competition with a different judge or be submitted for publication to a journal. The only thing that would prevent it being sent out again is publication.
  • Will there be a prize-giving or reading? Many competitions are held by literary festivals to coincide with and help promote their main event, eg. Ledbury Poetry Prize. If prize-winners and runners-up (sometimes even the shortlist) are also invited to read at the festival, it’s an opportunity to meet and thank the judge, and have the work heard by a literary audience.

Sometimes, I’ll forego one or more of these. For example, if it’s a judge whose work I particularly admire and it would mean a lot to me to have my worked chosen by them. As a writer, it’s up to you to decide what’s important to you and hold yourself to that standard.

All of this is conditional on the poems being good enough to hold their own in a competition. I’ve written more than I intended about the competitions themselves, so I’ll save what makes a competition-worthy poem for the next post.

In the meantime, is there anything I’ve missed? What things do you consider when deciding whether or not to enter a competition? Please leave a comment below.

NB. I live in Ireland and these thoughts are based on my experience of the UK/Irish literary scene. I’d also love to hear thoughts about submitting to competitions in other parts of the world.

Photo by Gratisography

The Revival Tour: Poet Bloggers 2018

The Revival Tour Poet Bloggers 2018

When I started this blog back in 2014, I posted fairly regularly about poetry, and writing in general, but gradually life took over and the posts slowly whittled down to the monthly competitions and submissions list.

It’s been on my mind for a while that I could be writing more here and when I saw the call-out on Twitter at the end of last year for poetry bloggers to post weekly for a year, I jumped on board (I’m sneaking this post in under the wire for Week 2)!

The Revival Tour Poet Bloggers 2018 comprises almost 100 poetry bloggers across the world, covering everything from writing, reading and reviewing poetry to interviews to writing successes and failures – anything and everything to do with writing poetry. A big thank you to Donna Vorreyer and Kelli Russell Agodon for getting the tour off the ground!

For my part, I’ll be drawing from my 10+ years of writing and submitting poetry, two years as a poetry editor, an enormous To Be Read book pile and other creative interests, including art and design. I also have a particular interest in social media and how writers present themselves online.

If you have questions about any of the above or there are other areas of poetry that you’d like to see articles about, please leave a comment below. I’d love to know what aspects of poetry you’re interested in!

In the meantime, check out the full list of The Revival Tour bloggers and discover a new favourite read.