Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – December 2018

December, again – where did the year go? If you’ve been promising yourself this would be the year to finally send out your work, there’s still time!! Here are over 120 poetry competitionswriting submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in December – so get cracking and end the year in style.

2018 has been a bumper year here on the blog, with almost double the number of readers as last year! I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to expand the site to provide even more advice, information and resources to help poets with writing and publication and I’ll post more about that anon.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank you all for your support and hope these lists have helped you find homes for your work. If you’re in a position to give back (see below) it would be very much appreciated.

And as you’re ticking off your Christmas shopping list, don’t forget to support writers and small presses. Poetry makes the perfect stocking filler:


Wishing you all a happy holiday season and the very best of luck. See you in 2019!

Creating this list is a labour of love, taking the best part of 20 hours to source, organise and write each month. If you find it useful and would like to show your appreciation, click the button below and make a small contribution toward a writer’s necessities of life, like:

€1.00 (a cheeky wee bar of chocolate or a new pen)
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€5.00 (a lovely cold pint of Guinness or a competition entry)
€10.00 (a scrumptious pizza or a new book)

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You’re a star, thank you. May all your poems be award-winning instant classics!

(Click on links below for info)

December 2018

Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize – Poetry manuscript (48-88 pages) – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Doolin Writer’s Competition – Poetry, Fiction – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Foglifter – Poetry, Prose, Cross-genre (especially queer, cross-genre, intersectional, marginal, and transgressive work) – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Heron Tree – Poetry – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Hot Metal Bridge – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Artwork – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Porter Gulch Literary and Arts Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Plays, Artwork – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Tammy – Poetry, Prose, Artwork – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Peter Porter Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 3 Dec (submit online)

Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 3 Dec (submit online)

Three Drops from the Cauldron – Poetry, Flash, Artwork, theme: Midwinter – closes 3 Dec (submit online)

Into the Void – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Artwork – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Strokestown International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

Brunel International African Poetry Prize – Poetry (emerging – not yet published a full-length collection) – closes 12 Dec (submit online)

Poetry Jukebox: A Deeper Country – Poetry recording (max. 2 mins) – closes 14 Dec (submit online)

AWP Ireland Call for Papers – Topics relating to creative writing – closes 14 Dec (submit online)

Modern Poetry in Translation: UK Focus – Poetry (languages and language communities of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) – closes 14 Dec (submit online)

Not Your Mother’s Breast Milk – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Artwork, theme: Mental Health – closes 14 Dec (submit online)

Tara Building Creative Scholarship – All disciplines – closes 14 Dec (submit online)

Baltic Writing Residency in Sweden – Poetry (10 Pages) – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

BLYNKT – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, theme: New Beginnings – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Constellate – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Copper Nickel – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Duende – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

F(r)iction’s Winter 2018 Literary Contests – Poetry, Flash, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Mikrokosmos Fiction & Poetry Contest – Poetry, Fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

New Ohio Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Porter House Review Editor’s Prizes – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Artwork – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Pretty Owl Poetry – Poetry, Flash, Art – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Sequestrum – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Art – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

So To Speak – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Swimming with Elephants Chapbooks – Poetry (25-75 pages) – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

The Blue Nib Chapbook Contest – Poetry manuscript (8 poems) – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

The Hunger – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Artwork – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

Third Coast – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Drama – closes 15 Dec (submit online)

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

Dodging the Rain – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction and more, theme: Christmas & New Year – closes 18 Dec (submit online)

Programming Proposals for Poetry Day Ireland 2019 – Poetry events, theme: Truth or Dare – closes 19 Dec (submit online)

Overton Poetry Prize – Poetry sequence (up to 300 lines) – closes 20 Dec (submit online)

The Deva Literary Prize – Poetry manuscript (48-120 pages) – closes 20 Dec (submit online)

ROPES Literary Journal – Poetry, Flash, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction and more – closes 24 Dec (submit online)

Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award – Poetry manuscript (up to 125 pages) – closes 28 Dec (submit online)

1919 Limerick Soviet Anthology – Poetry, Prose, Artwork – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Brexit in Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Brighthill Press Poetry Book Competition – Poetry manuscript (48-64 pages) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Calyx Journal – Poetry, Flash, Fiction, Artwork – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Carte Blanche – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction and more – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Dorset Prize – Poetry manuscript (48-88 pages) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Five Aspects Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Spirit of Childhood – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

River Styx – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Tampa Review Prize for Poetry – Poetry manuscript (48-100 pages) – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Moth Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Winter Tangerine Workshops: Feathered We Remember – Femme-identified writers, any genre – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

WoLF Poetry Competition – theme: Wanderer – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

Boyne Berries – Poetry, Fiction – closes 2 Jan 2019 (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)


SAND – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Artwork – closes 5 Jan 2019 (submit online)

Arvon Mentoring Programme – Poetry, Fiction, Playwriting – closes 7 Jan 2019 (submit online)

The Stinging Fly – Poetry, Fiction – opens 3 Dec – closes 9 Jan 2019 (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)

Bear Review – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Artwork – 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)

PANK – Poetry – 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 Cardiff Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Flash (preference given to students and unpublished graduates of Creative Writing, English Literature & Journalism) – 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 Lake – Poetry – 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)

Tinderbox Poetry Journal – Poetry – 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 December 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 – November 2018

The clocks went back last weekend, temperatures plummeted and winter is now well and truly upon us. But the long dark evenings are perfect for lighting the fire and getting down to the serious work of writing or editing poems, perhaps to submit to one of nearly 150 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in November.

I’ve received a number of requests over the past few months asking if I could provide one-to-one mentoring to help writers polish their work before submitting to journals or competitions. If you’re interested in receiving feedback on your poetry via Skype (up to 6 poems per session), drop me a line via my website Contact Page, and I’ll send on all the details.

Or if you’re in need of encouragement, illumination for these dark nights, read Audre Lorde‘s essay, Poetry is Not a Luxury:

‘…for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt.’

Wherever you are with your writing, keep up the good work and very best of luck!

(Click on links below for info) Continue reading

Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – October 2018

The days are getting colder and shorter so what better way to make use of the longer nights than to polish up your poems and submit them to one of over 120 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in October?

And if those rejections are piling up and getting you down, have a read of ‘So Your Piece Has Been Rejected’ by Josephine Taylor in the Westerly Mag. It not only offers some useful perspective on the submissions process from an editor’s point of view, it also emphasizes that ALL writers get rejections, even amazing, renowned and celebrated ones! It’s a right of passage for us all – submit, review, adjust and keep sending your writing out into the world!

Wherever you are with your writing, keep up the good work and very best of luck!

(Click on links below for info) Continue reading

Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – September 2018

It’s that back to school time of year so get ready to knuckle down and get your poems out into the world with a new list of over 110 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in September!

Last month, I was delighted to discover I’d taken first place in the 2018 Laureate’s Prize, as organised by The Poetry Business and judged by UK Poet Laureate, Dame Professor Carol Ann Duffy! Thank you so much to The Poetry Business for this opportunity and congratulations to the other prize winners in the Single Poem and Pamphlet competitions – I’m looking forward to meeting and reading with them later in the year.

I feel I should qualify this by saying it’s not been a particularly productive writing year for me – there have been too many other things snaffling up precious time. But, if I’ve learned anything over the past decade since I started writing it’s that however little you feel you’re producing work-wise, you need to keep putting it out there. Even if you only send out a handful of poems a month, you never know where or when one will land in the right place!

Wherever you are with your writing, keep up the good work and very 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