Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – May 2020

Welcome to May and the Celtic festival of Bealtaine – the mid-point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice! Although we’re still figuring out how to navigate summer as we continue and/or emerge from lockdown, the good news is that there are over 120 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in May 2020.

Last month was a tough one as my Dad had just passed and, to be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted since. I managed to facilitate my 30 Days of Spring Writing Challenge, due in no small part to the kindness, generosity and support of my writing group, who responded with empathy and understanding. A huge thank you to them and to everyone who reached out to me in the past month – I haven’t felt able to reply to many but I appreciate each and every message, text and email.

I’d also like to thank Poetry Ireland who commissioned me to produce a virtual event as part of their Bright Ideas programme for Poetry Day Ireland (30 April). I had a wonderful day, facilitating a group of budding poets, time-travelling through prompts, poetry and song, and planting the seeds of countless new poems. I very much appreciate Poetry Ireland’s kindness and support at such a difficult time.

Iamb Wave Two

And May is off to a lovely start with the launch of Iamb: Wave Two, a collation of poetry and readings curated by Mark Anthony Owen. I’m reading three recent poems here, alongside an amazing group of poets including Maggie Smith, Claire Trevien, Jo Burns, Seanin Hughes, Matthew M.C. Smith and many more. Please do check it out as it’s beautifully produced – Wave One is currently shortlisted for Best Collaborative Work at The Saboteur Awards 2020. And, again, much thanks to Mark for his gentle encouragement and support in helping me get my contribution over the line in time for the launch.

I hope you are all well and holding it together during lockdown – taking care of yourselves and each other. Stay creative, stay grounded, stay connected and stay safe.

Whatever you’re up to with your writing during May, I wish you luck. If you appreciate the monthly list and would like to support it, consider making a small donation via the Paypal donation button (right) and/or share the link on your own blog or social media pages. Thank you!

May 2020

Dundalk Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 1 May (submit online)

FACEBOOK Ireland & Culture Ireland present: Ireland Performs – Poetry – closes 1 May (submit online)

Poetry London Competition – Poetry – closes 1 May (submit online)

Prairie Schooner – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Reviews – closes 1 May (submit online)

The Rialto Nature & Place Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Nature & Place – closes 1 May (submit online)

Fugue Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid – closes 2 May (submit online)

Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme – Poetry, Literary Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, YA/Children’s Fiction – closes 4 May (submit online)

Harper-Wood Creative Writing Travel Award – Poetry, Fiction, Drama – closes 6 May (submit online)

Buddha Haiku – Haiku – closes 8 May (submit online)

Windows Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 8 May (submit online)

Barren Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction – closes 9 May or when full (submit online)

Parentheses Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Art, Photography – closes 10 May (submit online)

Live Canon International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 13 May (submit online)

The Mairtín Crawford Awards – Poetry, Fiction – closes 13 May (submit online)

Wexford Literary Festival Competitions – Poetry, Fiction, Drama and more – closes 13 May (submit online)

Creative Corona – Poetry translation – closes 15 May (submit online)

Feral Journal – Poetry, Art (esp. underrepresented voices including, but not limited to, women poets, poets of color, LGBTQ poets, and neurodivergent poets) – closes 15 May (submit online)

Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest – Poetry manuscript (10-30 pages) – closes 15 May (submit online)

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

Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus – Poetry – closes 15 May (submit online)

Porridge – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction & Art – closes 15 May (submit online)

Red Line Book Festival – Expressions of Interest – closes 15 May (submit online)

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

Best New Poets – Poetry – closes 16 May (submit online)

Palm-Sized Press – Prose Poetry, Flash Fiction (500 words max) – closes 17 May (submit online)

Nightingale and Sparrow – Poetry, Prose, Photography or Mixed Media manuscript (50-150 pages) – closes 17 May (submit online)

Semicolon – Poetry, Prose, Translations, Visual Art, theme: Mental Health (neurodivergent and neurotypical voices welcome) – closes 17 May (submit online)

The Honest Ulsterman – Poetry, Prose, Critical Writing – closes 22 May (submit online)

The A3 Review – Poetry, Flash, Art, theme: Human – closes 23 May (submit online)

The Black Light Engine Room Press – Poetry Anthology, theme: Light – closes 23 May (submit online)

Live Canon Poetry Collection Competition – Poetry manuscript (35+ pages) – closes 25 May (submit online)

Granta – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 26 May (submit online)

Lucent Dreaming Contests – Poetry, Fiction – closes 30 May (submit online)

Not4U Collective: Poems from Home – Poetry, Flash, Non-fiction, Art & Photography – closes 30 May (submit online)

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

Creative Future Writers Award – Poetry, Fiction, theme: Tomorrow – closes 31 May (submit online)

Envoi – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

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

Indigo-First Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (30 pages max.) – closes 31 May (submit online)

Lammergeier – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid – closes 31 May (submit online)

LossLit – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction (particularly welcomes submissions from women writers, writers belonging to ethnic minority groups, members of the LGBQT community, and other under-represented groups) – closes 31 May (submit online)

Milton Keynes Literary Festival Competitions – Poetry, Flash, theme: City of Dreams – closes 31 May (submit online)

Split Lip Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir and more – closes 31 May (submit online)

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

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

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

Nashville Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Translation – closes 31 May (submit online)

Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize – Poetry manuscript (17-24 pages) – closes 31 May (submit online)

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

Welsh Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 May (submit online)

Headline Poetry and Press: Restoration V.1 – Poetry, Flash – closes 1 June (submit online)

The Blue Nib – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reviews – closes 1 June (submit online)

The Montreal International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 1 June (submit online)

The White Review – Poetry, Fiction – 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)


Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Standing her Ground – EXTENDED – closes 12 June (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – re-opening early 2020 (submit online)

Algebra of Owls – Poetry – open (submit online)

Ambit – Poetry, Fiction, Art – open (submit online)

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

Anthropocene – Poetry – open (submit online)

Apartment Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Atrium – Poetry – open (submit online)

Bear Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Artwork – open (submit online)

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

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

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

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Fecund Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Essay & more (POC only) – 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)

Frontier Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Fruit Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid (LGBTQI+, with emphasis on unheard voices – POC, trans, working class) – open (submit online)

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

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

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

Ink Sweat & Tears – Poetry – open 13 Jan 2020 (submit online)

Irish Literary Review – Poetry – open 1 Jan 2020 (submit online)

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

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

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

Orbis – Poetry – open (submit by post (UK) or online (overseas only))

PANK – Poetry – open (submit online)

Palette Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Pigeon Pages – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – open (submit online)

POETRY Magazine – Poetry – open 2 Jan 2020 (submit online)

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

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

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

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

Porridge Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art – open (submit online)

PN Review – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – open (submit by post)

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

Riggwelter – Poetry, Short Fiction, Visual Art – open 31 March 2020 (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)

Stand Magazine – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

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

Tears in the Fence – Poetry – 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 Cardiff Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Flash (preference given to students and unpublished graduates of Creative Writing, English Literature & Journalism) – open (submit online)

The Compass Magazine – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

The Dark Horse – Poetry – open (submit by post)

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

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

The Lake – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

The London Magazine – Poetry, Non-Fiction, Art – open (submit online)

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

The Moth – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

The Offing – Poetry, Translation, Art and more – open (submit online)

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

The Poetry Village – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Poetry Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

The Selkie – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Features (marginalised and/or under-represented voices incl. women (or identify as), people of colour, immigrants, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent and more) – open (submit online)

The Seventh Quarry – Short Poetry – 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)

The Times Literary Supplement – Poetry (submit by post)

Three Drops From a Cauldron – Poetry, Flash, theme: Myth, Folklore, Fables, Fairytales – on hiatus until 2021 (submit online)

Tinderbox Poetry Journal – Poetry – 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 2020, 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)

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