Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – October 2021

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness arrived overnight, here in Ireland, bringing torrential rain and a dawn like melted butter. I love this time of year. And with the Autumn comes over 140 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in October 2021.

These are the days that lead to Samhain – the ancient Celtic festival marking Summer’s End – a time of celebration and remembrance, when spirits could cross from the Otherworld into the human realm for a single day. Spellbound, a new 30-day writing challenge exploring the myths, legends, superstitions and folklore of Samhain and Halloween kicks off today and if that sounds like a spookily good time come join us!

There are still spots available on the Email Only version (Facebook group is fully booked), if you fancy a creative boost or a DIY writing retreat as the winter evenings draw in. All the booking details are at the link below but be quick – the first prompt goes out tonight and the challenge doors close end of day tomorrow (2 October).

Whatever you are up to in October – writing, editing, submitting – I wish you every luck and success! If you appreciate the monthly list and would like to support it, please consider making a small donation via the Paypal donation button (right) and/or share this post on your own blog or social media pages. Thank you!


OCTOber 2021

14 Poems – Queer Poetry – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

Manchester Irish Language Writing Competition – Poetry, Prose, theme: Celebration – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

Passengers Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Art – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

Skylight47 – Poetry, Artwork – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

The Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

The Emma Press – Pamphlets – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Children’s Poetry & Fiction – closes 3 Oct (submit online)

The Honest Ulsterman – Poetry, Prose, Critical Writing – closes 3 Oct (submit online)

The Liminal Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 3 Oct (submit online)

Jerwood Arts 1:1 Fund – Collaboration – literature, music, performing, visual, contemporary arts (early career) – closes 4 Oct (submit online)

The Aryamati Poetry Prize – Poetry pamphlets (20-30 pages) – closes 5 Oct (submit online)

Millay Arts Core Residency – All disciplines – closes 8 Oct (submit online)

Abridged 0-80: Dominion – Poetry, theme: Dominion – Sovereignty, Ownership, Environment – closes 10 Oct (submit online)

Cynfas: Issue 7 – Any media suitable for a website – Words, Visuals, Sound, Music etc., theme: Power, Money, Visual Culture (Wales only) – closes 11 Oct (submit online)

The Waltham Forest Poetry Competition – Poetry pamphlets – closes 11 Oct (submit online)

Art Omi Writers’ Residency – All genres – closes 15 Oct (submit online)

Cheat River Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art – closes 15 Oct (submit online)

Okay Donkey – Poetry, Flash – closes 15 Oct (submit online)

Phoebe Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art – closes 15 Oct (submit online)

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

The Prole Pamphlet Competition – Poetry pamphlet (20-40 pages) – closes 17 Oct (submit online)

Palette Poetry: Love & Eros Prize – Poetry – closes 18 Oct (submit online)

Templar Pocket Pamphlet Awards – Poetry pamphlet – short poems (max 25 lines each, 20-24 pages) – closes 18 Oct (submit online)

The John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize – Poetry collection (first book, 48+ pages) – closes 18 Oct (submit online)

Lemon Peel Press – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, theme: Disgust – closes 20 Oct (submit online)

Maytree Press – Poetry pamphlet (20-25 pages) – closes 24 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence (Irish Language) – Dublin City University – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence – Dublin City University – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence – NUI Galway – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence – University College Cork – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence – University College Dublin – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer in Residence – NUI Maynooth – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

Writer’s Fellowship – Trinity College Dublin – All literary genres – closes 28 Oct (submit online)

David Whyte Poet in Residence Award – Poetry (living and working in Ireland only) – closes 29 Oct (submit online)

F(r)iction Fall Contests – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – closes 29 Oct (submit online)

Icarus Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Photograph, Artwork (students, staff and alumni of TCD) – closes 29 Oct (submit online)

New Writing Scotland – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir and more – closes 30 Oct (submit online)

Anthology Poetry Award – Poetry, theme: Freedom (max. 40 lines) – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Bad Lilies – Poetry (esp. underrepresented voices) – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Banshee Lit – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Essay – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Bath Magg – Poetry – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award – Poetry manuscript (unpublished, 48-96 pages) – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Cannon Poets Sonnet or Not Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Fawn Press Anthology – Poetry, theme: Elements: The Natural & Supernatural – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

National Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Nine Arches Press – Poetry collection manuscript (20 page sample) – closes 7 Nov (submit online)

Parkinson’s Art Poet of the Year – Poetry, theme: Empowerment – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Split Lip – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir, Artwork – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

The Bedford Writing Competitions – Poetry, Fiction – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

The Frogmore Papers – Poetry, Fiction – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Wasifiri – Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Ninth Letter (Web Edition) – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, theme: Return – closes 1 Nov (submit online)

The Columbia Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction, Art – closes 1 Nov (submit online)

The Poetry Society Members’ Competition – Poetry, theme: Survival & Extinction – closes 1 Nov (submit online)

The Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize – Poetry manuscript (rec. 20-36 pages) – closes 1 Nov (submit online)

Tiny Seed Literary Journal – Poetry, Flash, Photography, theme: Apaja’simk – To Return – closes 1 Nov (submit online)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN OCTOber 2021

Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award – Poetry (unpublished poets only) – closes 5 Nov (submit online)

The Francis Ledwidge Poetry Award – Poetry – closes 5 Nov (submit by post)

The Interpreter’s House – Poetry, Fiction – closes 14 Nov (submit by post)

Broken Sleep Books – Poetry pamphlet (up to 40 pages) – closes 30 Nov (submit by post)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – 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)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – 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)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – 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 (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)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – 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 (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – 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 (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)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (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 Aurora Review – Poetry (quick turnaround / feedback) – 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 Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – 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 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 October 2021, 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 – September 2021

The summer is winding down and as we dig out the jumpers and cardis, light the fire and prepare for cosy autumn evenings, AKA writing time, the new poetry list is here with over 120 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in September 2021.

A big thank you to everyone who sent kind messages and condolences for Dad’s interment service in Donegal last month – I feel very lucky to be part of such a thoughtful and generous community of writers.

For those of you who have let the writing slide over the summer and are in the back to school mood, there is an all new 30 Day Writing Challenge coming in October – full details of upcoming spooky fun will be announced very soon, so keep an eye out here or jump on board the mailing list for early access.

Whatever you are writing or sending out in September, I wish you the very best of 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!


September 2021

Guernica – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, theme: Dirt – closes 1 Sept (submit online)

Mono Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Sanity – closes 1 Sept (submit online)

Abridged 0-78 – Poetry, Artwork, theme: Judgement – closes 3 Sept (submit online)

Passengers Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Artwork – closes 3 Sept (submit online)

Stanza Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Choice – closes 5 Sept (submit online)

Kithe – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid, Art – closes 6 Sept (submit online)

Poetry School & Wayne Holloway Scholarships – Poetry – closes 6 Sept (submit online)

Arts Council Literature Agility Award – All genres (Irish, Ireland-based only) – closes 9 Sept (submit online)

Parentheses Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Art & Photography – closes 10 Sept (submit online)

Patrick & Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship – Established Irish poets in their middle years – closes 10 Sept (submit online)

The Bangor Literary Journal Ekphrastic Challenge – Poetry, Flash, Hybrid – closes 10 Sept (submit online)

The Bangor Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 14 Sept (submit online)

Black Warrior Review Contest – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

Cave Canem: Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize – Poetry manuscript (Black Writers only, 25-30 pages max.) – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

Padraic Fallon Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

Okay Donkey – Poetry, Flash – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

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

The Moth Nature Writing Prize – Poetry, Prose – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

Allingham Writing Competitions – Poetry, Flash – closes 17 Sept (submit online)

Bealtaine Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, Photography & Art, theme, (Un)belonging – closes 19 Sept (submit online)

Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets – Poetry (no more than one collection published) – closes 19 Sept (submit online)

Hart House Review – Poetry, Fiction, Art – closes 19 Sept (submit online)

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition – Poetry (in English and English as an Additional Language) – closes 20 Sept (submit online)

Gutter Mag – Poetry, Fiction – closes 24 Sept (submit online)

Troubadour International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 27 Sept (submit online)

Corvid Queen – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Hammond House International Literary Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Scriptwriting, Songwriting – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Hedgehog Press: A Slim Volume of One’s Own Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (20 poems max.) – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Indigo International Wild Nature Poetry Award – Poetry, theme: Wildlife, Natural World, Environment, Cruel Sports – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Kenyon Review – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Essay, Play, themes, Work or Climate – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Religious/Spiritual & connected to the Cathedral (max. 15 lines) – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Open Door Career Advancement Grants for BIPOC Women Writers – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction (unpublished writers) – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Osmosis Press – Manuscripts, poetry, hybrid genres – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Perhappened – Poetry, Flash, theme: Disguise – opens 9 Sept, closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Rhino Founders’ Prize – Poetry – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Split Lip – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir, Artwork – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

The North Magazine – Poetry – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest – Poetry – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Violet Indigo Blue Etc. – Poetry, Art Criticism – closes 30 Sept (submit online)

Waxwing – Poetry – closes 30 Sept (submit online – may close earlier due to submissions cap)

Skylight47 – Poetry, Artwork – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

The Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction – closes 1 Oct (submit online)

The Honest Ulsterman – Poetry, Prose, Critical Writing – closes 3 Oct (submit online)

The Liminal Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – opens 6 Sept, closes 3 Oct (submit online)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN september 2021

The Aryamati Poetry Prize – Poetry pamphlets (20-30 pages) – closes 5 Oct (submit online)

The Moth Nature Writing Prize – Poetry, Prose – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

The Prole Pamphlet Competition – Poetry pamphlet (20-40 pages) – closes 17 Oct (submit online)

Fawn Press Anthology – Poetry, theme: Elements: The Natural & Supernatural – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

National Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Oct (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – 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)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – 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)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – 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 (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)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – 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 (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – 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 (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)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (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 Aurora Review – Poetry (quick turnaround / feedback) – 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 Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – 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 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 September 2021, 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 – August 2021

How’s your Summer going? If you’re tired of sunning yourself (or have been driven indoors by the weather) there’s plenty to keep you busy in the new poetry list with over 130 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in August 2021!

I’m still in catch-up mode from earlier in the year due to health and personal stuff. My lovely Dad who died back at the beginning of COVID-19 is finally going to be laid to rest in his beloved Donegal on Saturday. I still can’t travel for the funeral which is tough but I’m happy to know that he is being brought gently home by family and friends. Please keep him and us in your thoughts this week.

Last month, I mentioned new developments for Autumn/Winter – these are still in the planning stages and I hope to share more info very soon – keep an eye on the blog or, if you’d like to be first to hear about new and shiny happenings, jump on the mailing list for the scoop.

Whatever you are writing or sending out in August, I wish you the very best of 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!


August 2021

Dreich Chapbook Competition – Poetry manuscript (20 poems) – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Gigantic Sequins Annual Poetry Context – Poetry – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Impossible Archetype – Poetry (LGBTQ+, all genders) – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Mud Room Mag – Poetry, Fiction, Essay – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Muzzle Magazine – Poetry – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

The Poetry Society Members’ Competition – Poetry, theme, Surreal Cities – closes 4 Aug (submit online)

Guernica – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction (Emerging writers only – max. 5 publication credits across all genres) – closes 6 Aug (submit online)

Passengers Journal – Poetry, Non-fiction, Art, Photography – closes 4 Sept (submit online)

Second Light Poetry Competition – Long & short Poetry by women – closes 6 Aug (submit online)

Here Comes Everyone – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Artwork, theme: Gods & Monsters – closes 8 Aug (submit online)

The Mechanic Institute Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – closes 12 Aug (submit online)

The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award – Poetry manuscript (20 poems, Irish, Ireland-based poets only) – closes 12 Aug (submit online)

The Shahidah Janjua Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 12 Aug (submit online)

The Rialto – Poetry – closes 13 Aug (submit online)

Black in White Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Racism & Prejudice – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Diode Editions Chapbook Contest – Poetry manuscript (25-50 pages) – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Diode Editions Full-Length Book Contest – Poetry manuscript (55-85 pages) – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Grist Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Palette Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Re-Creation: An Anthology of Queer Poetry – Poetry (BIPOC poets and resistant, liminal, and nonconformist queer voices, UK only) – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Room Magazine 2021 Poetry Contest – Poetry – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

The Boiler – Poetry. Fiction, Essay – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

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

Wine Cellar Press – Poetry, Visual Art – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Arts Council Literature Project Award – All genres – closes 19 Aug (submit online)

Crow Name – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Comics & more, theme: Bud, Blossom, Bloom – closes 20 Aug (submit online)

Goldsmith Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 20 Aug (submit online)

Raftery Returns Poetry Competition – Poetry (max. 20 lines) – closes 20 Aug (submit online)

The Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition – Poetry (unpublished poets only) – closes 27 Aug (submit online)

Granta – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art & Photography – closes 29 Aug (submit online)

Dedalus Press: Local Wonders – Poetry (Irish/Irish-based poets only) – closes 30 Aug (submit online)

Aesthetica Creative Writing Awards – Poetry, Fiction – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Broken Sleep Books Ecopoetry Anthology – Poetry – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Crow of Minerva – Poetry – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Drawn to the Light – Poetry – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition – Poetry pamphlets (16-24 pages) – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Gloucestershire Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Poetry Archive NOW WordView 2021 – Poetry – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Saveas Writers’ International Writing Competition – Poetry, Prose, theme: Horizons – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Split Lip – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir, Art – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The 8th Annual Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition – Poetry films – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The Adroit Journal – Poetry, Prose, Art – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The Hedgehog Press Stickleback Micro-Pamphlet Competition – Poetry (4 poems) – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The Hedgehog Press White Label Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (20 poems) – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Guernica – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, theme: Dirt – closes 1 Sept (submit online)

Mono Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Sanity – closes 1 Sept (submit online)

Abridged 0-78 – Poetry, Artwork, theme: Judgement – closes 3 Sept (submit online)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN August 2021

Stanza Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Choice – closes 5 Sept (submit online)

The Moth Nature Writing Prize – Poetry, Prose – closes 15 Sept (submit online)

Allingham Writing Competitions – Poetry, Flash – closes 17 Sept (submit online)

Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets – Poetry (no more than one collection published) – closes 19 Sept (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – 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)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – 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)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – 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 (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)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – 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 (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – 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 (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)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (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 Aurora Review – Poetry (quick turnaround / feedback) – 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 Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – 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 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 August 2021, 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 – July 2021

Hello Summer! The poetry list is back with over 150 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in July 2021!

Despite my best intentions, health and technical issues got the better of me during the past few months but – fingers crossed – the poetry list is back on track for the rest of 2021. I’m posting July a little early to include some opportunities for the last day of June – these are closing in the next 6-12 hours, so be quick if you don’t want to miss out!

And although I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for a while, it hasn’t all been bad news. I was delighted to be awarded an Arts Council Literary Bursary in May to support the completion of my second poetry collection, due to be published by Dedalus Press in 2022/3.

This was my first successful application after trying many times over the past 10 years – a reminder to keep doing the work, honing the craft and practicing resilience in the face of rejection. If you have been experiencing any disappointments in your work lately, don’t give up. Take a step back, give yourself and the work some space, place your energy somewhere else for a while, perhaps a different genre or art form. Do something that makes you feel good and return to the work when you are replenished and it starts to intrigue you again.

At the moment, I’m trying to catch up on commitments that stalled in Spring but I have lots of exciting things planned for late Summer and Autumn, and hope to share more about those with you next month. If you’d like to be first to hear about new developments, jump on the mailing list for the scoop!

Whatever you are writing or sending out in July, I wish you the very best of 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!


JulY 2021

14 Magazine – Poetry (14 lines max.) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Alba – Poetry (12 lines max.) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Abridged 0-69: Nemesis – Poetry, Visual Art, theme: Nemesis – closes 30 June (submit online)

Analogies & Allegories – Poetry, Fiction, Photography & Visual Art, theme: Fate – closes 30 June (submit online)

Bath Magg – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

Catatonic Daughters – Poetry, Prose, Script, Visual Art (welcomes under-represented communities including people of colour, disabled writers, and LGBTQIA+ writers, including trans & non-binary writers) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Long Poem Magazine – Poetry (75 lines min.) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Los Angeles Review Literary Awards – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 30 June (submit online)

Present Tense – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction – closes 30 June (submit online)

Rhino Poetry – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

The Alchemy Spoon – Poetry, theme: Body – closes 30 June (submit online)

The Well Review – Poetry manuscripts (20 – 35 poems) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Wells Festival of Literature Open Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

Diversifying Irish Poetry: Poetry Critics of Colour in Ireland Call – Poetry (Irish/Irish-based writers of colour) – closes 1 July (submit online)

Oxford Poetry – Poetry – closes 1 July (submit online)

The Barbara Mandingo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards – Poetry, theme: Peace & the Human Spirit – closes 1 July (submit online)

Poetry Magazine: Collaborative Issue – Poetry, Prose, theme: Collaboration – closes 1 July (submit online)

AUB International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 2 July (submit online)

Charlotte Mew Chapbook Contest – Poetry manuscript (35 pages max, lesbian-identified poets (see submission guidelines)) – closes 4 July (submit online)

York Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 4 July (submit online)

Perhappened – Poetry, Fiction, theme: Saltwater – closes 6 July (submit online)

The Fairy Tale Review: The Lilac Issue – Poetry, Fiction, Comics, Artwork & more, theme: Sleep & Dreams – closes 6 July (submit online)

Arts Council Agility Award – All genres – individual artists and arts workers – closes 8 July (submit online)

Coast to Coast to Coast Competition – Poetry mini pamphlet (max 12 pages) – closes 8 July (submit online)

McLellan Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 11 July (submit online)

Ambit Annual Competitions – Poetry, Fiction, Illustration, theme: Metamorphosis – closes 14 July (submit online)

Bangor Literary Journal – Poetry, Flash, Art & Photography – closes 14 July (submit online)

Bellevue Literary Review Prizes – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, theme: Health, healing, illness, the mind and the body – closes 15 July (submit online)

Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry – Poetry manuscript (48 pages min.) – closes 15 July (submit online)

Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers – Poetry, Fiction – closes 15 July (submit online)

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 15 July (submit online)

Vallum Award for Poetry – Poetry (strongly encourages submissions from LGBTQI2S, Indigenous writers, writers of colour, gender non-conforming writers, differently abled writers or persons with mental or physical challenges) – closes 15 July (submit online)

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

Narrative Magazine Annual Poetry Contest – Poetry – closes 16 July (submit online)

The Stephen Spender Prize – Poetry in Translation – closes 16 July (submit online)

Frontier Poetry OPEN Award – Poetry – closes 18 July (submit online)

Poetry Wales – Poetry – closes 21 July (submit online)

Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme – Poetry, Literary Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Children’s/YA Fiction – closes 22 July (submit online)

Varuna Residential Fellowships – Poetry, Fiction, Narrative Non-fiction, Drama and more – closes 29 July (submit online)

Allegro Poetry – Poetry, theme: Georgraphy – closes 31 July (submit online)

Amsterdam Quarterly – Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Art & Photography, theme: The Future – closes 31 July (submit online)

Arc Poetry Magazine – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

Bad Lilies – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

Foyle Young Poets of the Year – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

Magma – Poetry, theme: Obsidian (Black poets only) – closes 31 July (submit online)

Re-Creation: An Anthology of Queer Poetry – Poetry (BIPOC poets and resistant, liminal, and nonconformist queer voices, UK only) – closes 31 July (submit online)

Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

Seashores – Haiku, Senryu – closes 31 July (submit online)

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition – Poetry (50 lines max.) – closes 31 July (submit online)

Spelt Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Rural – closes 31 July (submit online)

The A3 Press Chapbook – Poetry, Fiction, Art (12-14 pages) – closes 31 July (submit online)

The Haibun Journal – Haibun – closes 31 July (submit online)

The Gravity of the Thing – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction – closes 31 July (submit online)

Winchester Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 July (submit online)

Dreich Chapbook Competition – Poetry manuscript (20 poems) – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Gigantic Sequins Annual Poetry Context – Poetry – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Impossible Archetype – Poetry (LGBTQ+, all genders) – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Mud Room Mag – Poetry, Fiction, Essay – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

Muzzle Magazine – Poetry – closes 1 Aug (submit online)

The Poetry Society Members’ Competition – Poetry, theme, Surreal Cities – closes 4 Aug (submit online)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN JULY 2021

Second Light Poetry Competition – Long & short Poetry by women – closes 6 Aug (submit online)

The Mechanic Institute Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – opens 4 July / closes 6 Aug (submit online)

The Rialto – Poetry – closes 13 Aug (submit online)

Grist Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Palette Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

The Boiler – Poetry. Fiction, Essay – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

Wine Cellar Press – Poetry, Visual Art – closes 15 Aug (submit online)

The Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition – Poetry (unpublished poets only) – closes 27 Aug (submit online)

Dedalus Press: Local Wonders – Poetry (Irish/Irish-based poets only) – closes 30 Aug (submit online)

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition – Poetry pamphlets (16-24 pages) – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The 8th Annual Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition – Poetry films – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

The Adroit Journal – Poetry, Prose, Art – closes 31 Aug (submit online)

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – 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)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – 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)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – 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 (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)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – 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 (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – 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 (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)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (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 Aurora Review – Poetry (quick turnaround / feedback) – 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 Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – 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 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 July 2021, 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 – March 2021

It’s March and the poetry list is back and bringing you over 140 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in March 2021!

If you’ve been wondering what happened in January and February, I’ve been at a low ebb for a while now (Exhaustion + YOU-KNOW-WHAT fatigue + Winter + Lockdown = 😥🤒🤕🤧🥴😱) and I finally hit a wall when a bug knocked me on my arse for several weeks in February, incl. my birthday – oh joy…

Self-care is such an important part of surviving in our strange new world – and I don’t mean the pampering and bubble bath kind (although that’s nice too) but recognising our own limitations – physically, mentally, emotionally – working within our actual energy levels at any given time and not over-committing out of financial necessity (not an easy call) or a misguided wish to please others. Let’s just say there have been a lot of plates spinning and crashing at my end. If you’ve been waiting to hear from me, I’ll be in touch with a tube of UHU, a Pritt stick, Blu Tac and a giant roll of gaffer tape very soon. As always, I’m grateful for the understanding, encouragement and support of this community of writers. Take care of yourself and each other as we head toward Spring, new growth, brighter days and – hopefully – happier and healthier times.

I’m starting to toss around ideas for the next 30 day challenge and National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in April. If you’d like to hear about it as soon as it launches, jump on the mailing list for first dibs on a spot!

Whatever you are writing or sending out in March, I wish you the very best of 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!


MARCH 2020

The Mechanic’s Institute Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – closes 5 Mar (submit online)

Dreich Summer Anywhere Anthology – Poetry – closes 7 Mar (submit online)

Feral: A Journal of Poetry & Art – Poetry, Visual Art, theme: Weather – closes 7 Mar (submit online)

Into the Void – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Visual Art – closes 7 Mar (submit online)

Kissing Dynamite – Poetry, Visual Art – closes 7 Mar (submit online)

Forward Prizes for Poetry – Poetry / Manuscripts (publishers only) – closes 8 Mar (submit online)

We Only Want the Earth Residency 2 – Visual Art / Multidisciplinary (artists with experience of homelessness only) – closes 8 Mar (submit online)

Marble Poetry Broadsheet – Poetry, theme: History – closes 10 Mar (submit online)

Parentheses Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Visual Art – closes 10 Mar (submit online)

Bracken – Poetry, Visual Art – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Brian Dempsey Memorial Prizes: Single Poem – Poetry – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Brian Dempsey Memorial Prizes: Short Collection – Poetry (10 poems, UK only) – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Cheltenham Poetry Festival Single Poem Contest – Poetry, theme: Transformation – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Frosted Fire: New Voices – Poetry manuscript (10 poems, poet aged 25 or under) – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Ledbury Poetry Critics – Poets / Poetry critics of colour (UK only) – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Lumiere Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, theme: Party Time – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Poetry Day Ireland Bright Ideas – Poetry Event / Project, theme: New Directions: Maps & Journeys – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

Up the Stairs – Poetry, Visual Art – closes 15 Mar (submit online)

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

Same Page Anthology – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction – closes 17 Mar (submit online)

iOTA Shot Pamphlet Awards – Poetry manuscript (16-20 pages) – closes 22 Mar (submit online)

Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 24 Mar (submit online)

Indigo Literary Journal – Poetry, Prose – closes 25 Mar (submit online)

Creative Ageing Writing Bursary – Poet, Writer, Artist (aged 50+, Republic of Ireland only) – closes 26 Mar (submit online

York Literary Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Essay, theme: Time & Memory – closes 26 Mar (submit online)

The Rialto – Poetry – closes 30 Mar (submit online)

192 Magazine – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

American Poetry Journal – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Banshee – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Essay – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (15-25 poems) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Glass Poetry Press – Poetry manuscript (15-25 pages) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Fish Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry – Poetry manuscript (48-80 pages) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)#

Hedgehog Press: A Slim Volume of One’s Own Pamphlet Competition – Poetry manuscript (up to 20 poems) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Hedgehog Press: Selected or Neglected Book Competition – Poetry manuscript (up to 40 poems) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Magma – Poetry, theme: Anthropocene – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Split Lip – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir, Visual Art – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

The Antivenom Poetry Award – Poetry manuscript (first or second collection, 48+ pages) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

The Gutter & Edwin Morgan Trust Poetry Competition – Poetry (unpublished poets, aged 40+) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

The Plough Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

The Red Shed Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award – Poetry manuscript (20-36 pages) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Verve Poetry Press – Poetry manuscript (60+ pages) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Waxwing – Poetry (limited submissions – may close early) – closes 31 Mar (submit online)

Ambit Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

American Poetry Journal Chapbook Series – Poetry manuscript (up to 42 pages) – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

Anthropocene – Poetry – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

Prototype Anthology – Poetry, Prose, Visual, Experimental – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, theme: Untamed: On Wilderness and Civilization – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

The Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Essay, Creative Non-fiction, Visual Art / Comics – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

The Momentist – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, Translation, Visual Art – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

The Tiny Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – closes 1 Apr (submit online)

Full House Lit Mag – Poetry, Prose, Script, Visual Art – closes 2 Apr (submit online)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN MARCH 2021

South Downs Poetry Festival Competition – Poetry – closes 6 Apr (submit online)

Spelt Magazine – Poetry, Creative Non-fiction (special segment for writers under 25 years of age) – open 5 Mar – 10 Apr (submit online)

The Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest – Poetry – closes 15 Apr (submit online)

Cathalbui Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 17 Apr (submit online)

The Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry – Poetry – closes 30 Apr (submit online)

Tether’s End Magazine – Poetry, theme: Folklore – closes 1 May (submit online)

Seek Poetry Magazine – Poetry – closes 1 May (submit online)

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

Acumen – Poetry – open (submit online)

Agenda – Poetry, Essays, Reviews – 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)

Bending Genres – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – 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)

Dreich Mag – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Dust Poetry – Poetry – open (submit online)

Empty Mirror – Poetry, Non-fiction, Visual Art (committed to diversity & inclusion) – 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 (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)

Lunate – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – open (submit online)

Marble – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

Omelette Literary Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction & more – 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 (under-represented and marginalized voices of all colors encouraged to submit) – 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 (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)

Prole – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

Sine Theta Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art (Sino diaspora only. People of Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Macau heritage, who live anywhere away from the original ‘homeland’ of that heritage – rolling deadlines, email to express interest (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 Aurora Review – Poetry (quick turnaround / feedback) – 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 Lincoln Review – Poetry, Flash, Creative Non-fiction, Essays and more (actively encourages writers, artists, and photographers who come from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds) – 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 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 March 2021, 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)

Submitting to Poetry Journals & Competitions: A Beginner’s Guide

Chatting to writers during the recent #JanuaryWriteOff 30 Day Challenge, it became clear many people find the process of submitting to poetry journals and competitions quite daunting. From formatting to bios to fees, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through and I thought it might be useful to walk you through the process.

What Goes into a Submission?

When you’re preparing work to send out into the world, you will need to put together a package of information comprising some, or all, of the following:

  • Your work, presented in accordance with the competition or journal’s Submission Guidelines;
  • A short writer’s bio;
  • A cover letter and/or a completed application form;
  • An author’s photo;
  • Competition or Submission fees (if applicable).

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail. 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.

IF I’M LUCKY.

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