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 prepare 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

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Last-minute Christmas Gift: Poetry Mentoring Gift Voucher

Voucher_blankIf you’re stuck for a perfect gift for the poet in your life – or want to drop a hint to Santa for yourself – gift vouchers are available for my one-to-one poetry mentoring sessions.

Each session includes a preliminary report on up to 6 poems (or 150 lines), a one-hour mentoring session via Skype/phone and a follow up email with reading recommendations.

The voucher can be personalised and delivered by email, ready to be printed and popped into an envelope, ready for Christmas morning.

And if you’d like to know more about what to expect, here’s what one writer had to say about a recent poetry mentoring session:

‘I didn’t have any set expectations, but I did have hopes and these were more than matched by the turn of events. The initial written feedback immediately latched on to the problems that I was experiencing and the mentoring session advanced tidily from there into a detailed critical examination of my poems… It was pretty focused – sometimes very focused – on the details of how I could advance my skills and understanding of form and content. This focus was facilitated by the relaxed and discursive mode of joint examination of my poems. I got so involved that for a while I forgot the time and everything else really, becoming pretty well immersed in the liminal moment of it…which (speaking as a teacher myself) I think is pretty much exactly how teaching / learning events should be. I found it powerfully effective as a tool for opening up blockages in my own thinking process and revealing potential ways that I can advance my skill and understanding as a poetic writer.’

– C. Sparks, Co. Sligo

To book, go to the poetry mentoring page on my website OR just drop me a line!

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:

https://www.bustle.com/p/8-reasons-to-give-the-gift-of-poetry-this-season-13046340

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)
€3.00 (a piping hot creamy latte or a new notebook)
€5.00 (a lovely cold pint of Guinness or a competition entry)
€10.00 (a scrumptious pizza or a new book)


Donate Button

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)


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES 

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

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


JOURNALS / OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN DECEMBER:

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 Mentoring: Black Friday Special Offer

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of interest in the one-to-one poetry mentoring sessions I mentioned in the November poetry list. To save time (and prevent repetitive strain injury from writing emails), I’ve added a dedicated poetry mentoring page on my website with all the details.

And, in the spirit of Black Friday, I’m offering mentoring sessions at a special reduced rate of €50.00 (usually €75.00). There are only 10 available and when they’re gone, they’re gone. The offer begins at 12.01 am GMT on Friday 23 November and runs until 11.59 pm GMT on Monday 26 November.

The sessions can also be purchased with a smart presentation voucher (digital), if you’d like to buy one as a holiday gift.

If you have any questions about poetry mentoring, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Featured Image: George Kourounis

Getting Lost: A Poetry Essay for The Lonely Crowd

‘To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we are transformed. It is no accident that in Shakespeare’s comedies, people go into the greenwood to grow, learn and change. It is where you travel to find yourself, paradoxically, by getting lost.’

Roger Deakin, Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees (Hugo Hamilton, 2007)

 

At poetry workshops, when a writer has finished reading their work and the rest of the group are still re-reading and processing, four words are often blurted into this space:

‘And that really happened.’

Perhaps it has to do with the discomfort of a silence, the unease of waiting for a response and a need, conscious or unconscious, to reinforce the credibility of the work. To me, factual basis is irrelevant in a poem. The rendering of events as they occurred may be good journalism or memoir, but a poem requires something more. To become a poem, the facts must pass through a crucible, they must be transformed.

 

This month, I have four new poems published in The Lonely Crowd, a wonderful literary journal based in Wales. To mark the occasion, editor John Lavin invited me to write a short essay about these poems – you can read the full essay at The Lonely Crowd website, along with lots of other writers discussing their work, and also listen to me reading the poem, ‘Root’.

The journal is beautifully produced, a surprisingly hefty tome packed with great poetry, fiction and interviews including new work by Irish writers Caitriona Lally, John McAuliffe, Kevin Cahill, Meadhbh Ni Eadhra, Arnold Fanning, Kevin Graham, Kathleen MacMahon, K.S. Moore, Grahame Williams and Paul Whyte, plus gorgeous cover photography by Jo Mazelis. Lavin is zealously active in his sharing of the work on social media and I’m hugely grateful for all his hard work in selecting and promoting exciting new writing from the UK and Ireland.

From a writer’s perspective, The Lonely Crowd is such a generous and rewarding place to be published – I’d highly recommend getting a hold of a copy and considering them for your work when they open for submissions again in 2019.

You can buy this and other individual issues of The Lonely Crowd or a yearly subscription at their online shop.

And if you’re looking for places to send your work right now, check out the current list of poetry competitions, submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in November.

lonely crowd 10

Featured Images © Jo Mazelis, 2018.

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

The Revival Tour: Poet Bloggers 2018

The Revival Tour Poet Bloggers 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#WeMadeHistory

The people of Ireland have voted YES for marriage equality — regardless of sexuality — in a public referendum, with one of the largest turnouts in voting history; we are the first country in the world to make this choice by popular vote.

I’ve never been prouder to be Irish.

The escalating momentum of #hometovote, over the past couple of days, with Irish men and women abroad pouring back into the country by train, boat and plane, to ensure their voices were heard, has been extraordinarily moving.

The public outpourings, the crowds at Dublin Castle this afternoon — both in the courtyard and bringing the streets to a standstill outside — as the results were announced, and the inevitable celebrations carrying on well into the night, signal something else: national pride and a return to joy. Continue reading

Double Shot @ Books Upstairs: New Poetry Event in Dublin

This week sees the launch of Double Shot – a series of poetry readings at the new Books Upstairs premises on D’Olier Street, which pairs an emerging poet with a more established peer, to provide reading opportunities for poets who don’t often get to read in Dublin. The first of the series takes place this Wednesday, 25 February from 7pm and features Kate Quigley, Graham Allen and Jessica Traynor, who is also the event organiser.
 .
Poet, writer and dramaturg, Jessica is on a bit of a roll at the moment with a new position as Literary Manager at The Abbey Theatre and her debut collection, Liffey Swim, nominated for the Shine / Strong Award 2015.
I had a quick chat with Jessica to find out more about Double Shot and her latest role at the Abbey.

Continue reading