Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – NOVEMBER 2022

The clocks have gone back and winter is here, along with the November poetry list and 140 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities – open or with deadlines between now and the end of the month!

If you missed the monthly list in September and October, my apologies – health issues got the better of me and I took some time out to reset and recharge. Happily, the Miracle Machine Writing Challenge was not affected – it went off without a hitch, including a fantastic evening with our guest reader (and the busiest woman in poetry), Victoria Kennefick!

Now that the dark winter evenings are rolling in, it’s the perfect time to focus on honing your writing craft and, to help you fine-tune those poems before you send them out into the world, Writing Slant | Making a Poem, a 6-Week online course is back for another run from Mon 7 November.

Course Content

Each week we’ll focus on a different aspect of building a poem, with targeted exercises, inspirational reading and a live online discussion exploring:

  • Breaking In – Finding the core idea and expanding the world of the poem.
  • Grounding the Reader – Titles, opening lines and setting the tone.
  • Picture Perfect – Understanding imagery: Abstract v. Concrete.
  • Throwing Shapes – Reinforcing core ideas through language and form.
  • Getting Into Character – Exploring voice and the power of persona.
  • Exit Strategy – Endings, edits and the element of surprise.

Writing Slant is hosted in a private online member’s space, supplemented by a private Facebook group for sharing and discussing work and a live Zoom discussion each week which is recorded so you’ll never miss a lesson and can refer back to them again and again.

You’ll find all the details at the link below – it’s been hugely popular with past writing challenge participants (see below), helping them make quantum leaps with their work, especially when readying poems to send out for publication.​

This is a very hands-on course, with exercises designed to be applied to your works-in-progress, whether it’s a first draft in search of direction or a developed poem that isn’t quite hitting the spot. In the live classes, we’ll explore that week’s theme and touchstone texts, through reading and discussion, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and engage with the group.

Praise for Writing Slant | Making a Poem

Beautifully put together, visually clear and easy to navigate. An excellent course which will help you to develop your draft poems into something clearer and stronger, that you can feel is beginning to really sing. Angela has put together a wonderful range of tools, inspiration and knowledge to help you grow as a writer.

– Aisling O’Gorman

Writing Slant was the next step for me, having enjoyed three separate month-long writing challenges with Angela. The live sessions were consistently supportive, Angela is a very sensitive and skilful leader of these groups – which is not that easy on Zoom! Even when I wrestled with a difficult poem, there was real pleasure in following the trail of crumbs. I found it so very exciting, like a treasure hunt, somehow. It opened doors for me. I loved it!

– Danica Ognjenovic

I developed a helpful new set of revision strategies for my writer’s toolbox, and a great deal more about the craft of poetry, all in a wonderful “no pressure,” enthusiastic environment with incredibly talented, helpful fellow writers and terrific encouragement from a wonderful teacher. The class had a great convivial atmosphere, with a “we’re all in this together” feel to it. A wonderful experience!

– Caroline Wellman

Halloween Discount

As a sweetener and a thank you for being part of my writing community, there’s a 10% Halloween discount on all bookings up to midnight on 6 November, with the code ALLSOULS10 – just pop it in the discount code box at checkout.

I do hope you can join us!

Whatever you’re up to with your writing this month – drafting, honing, editing or 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!


NOVEMBER 2022

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

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

Passengers Journal – Poetry – closes 4 Nov (submit online)

Austin Clark Prizes – Poetry, Fiction – closes 5 Nov (submit online)

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 5 Nov (submit online)

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

Poetry Book Society Metro Poetry Competition – Poetry, theme: Home – closes 6 Nov (submit online)

Anthology Magazine Poetry Prize – Poetry, theme: Dreams – closes 7 Nov (submit online)

Finished Creatures – Poetry, theme: Shelter – closes 7 Nov (submit online)

The Martello Journal – Poetry, Flash, Art, theme: Sanctuary – closes 7 Nov (submit online)

Defunkt Magazine – Poetry, Fiction – closes 13 Nov (submit online)

Cafe Writers Poetry Competition – Poetry, Fiction – closes 14 Nov (submit online)

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

Abridged 0-92: The Violet Hour – Poetry – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

Frontier Global Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

Room Short Forms Contest – Prose poetry, Flash Fiction/Non-fiction (max. 500 words) – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

The Hellebore – Poetry, Flash – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

The Pig’s Back – Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 15 Nov (submit online)

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

The Penn Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Art – closes 18 Nov (submit online)

The Bird in Your Hands Contest – Poetry, Fiction Non-fiction under 500 words (BIPOC writers only) – closes 20 Nov (submit online or by post)

The Rialto – Poetry, theme: Machine – closes 20 Nov (submit online or by post)

Shooter Literary Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, theme: On The Body – closes 20 Nov (submit online)

Ink Sweat & Tears – Poetry, Prose – closes 22 Nov (submit online)

Cutleaf Journal – Poetry – closes 24 Nov (submit online)

Wales Poetry Award – Poetry – closes 26 Nov (submit online)

Shooter Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 27 Nov (submit online)

Fahmidan Publishing – Poetry chapbooks (20 pages, POC & Women writers only) – closes 28 Nov (submit online)

Birmingham Poetry Journal – Poetry – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

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

Cc: Zine – Poetry, Fiction, Visual Art, Mixed Media  – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Crannog – Poetry, Fiction – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

East Riding Festival of Words Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Ink Sweat & Tears – Poetry, Prose, theme: Christmas – opens 23 Nov / closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Lammergeier – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Hybrid – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Nine Pens Pamphlet Series – Poetry manuscripts (max. 40 pages) – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Propel Magazine – Poetry (unpublished poets in UK/Ireland) – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Split Lip Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir & more – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

The Boiler Prize – Prose Poem/Flash/Hybrid – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

The Fiddlehead – Poetry – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

The Maine Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

The Purposeful Mayonnaise – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Art, theme: Places – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

The Stinging Fly – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – opens 15 Nov / closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Waxwing – Poetry (note: 300 entry limit – may close earlier) – closes 30 Nov (submit online)

Okay Donkey – Poetry, Flash – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

C.P. Cavafy Prize – Poetry – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Petrichor Magazine – Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Art, theme: Ecopoetics – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Common – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Non-fiction – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Indianapolis Review – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Art – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Normal School – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Multimedia – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

The Ralph Gustafson Prize – Poetry – closes 1 Dec (submit online)

Washington Square Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Translation – closes 1 Dec (submit online)


OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN NOVEMBER 2022

Poetry Wales – Poetry – tbc (submit online)

Bealtaine Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Photography & Art, theme: Capturing the Ordinary – closes 4 Dec (submit online)

Cove Park Residency – All creative disciplines – closes 5 Dec (submit online)

Puca Lit – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-fiction – closes 5 Dec (submit online)

Under the Radar – Poetry, theme: Journeys – closes 7 Dec (submit online)

ROPES Literary Journal – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Memoir, Art & more – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

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

WoLF Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 31 Dec (submit online)

The Charles Causley International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 1 Jan (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)

Antipoetry Magazine – 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)

Crow & Cross Keys – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, theme: Gothic – open (submit online)

Crowstep Journal – Poetry – open (submit online)

Damnation – Poetry, Prose, Flash – open (submit online)

Disabled Tales – Poetry, Fiction, Essay – 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 House Press – Poetry, Prose Poetry, Flash, Hybrid  – 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)

Irish Literary Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

Jaden Magazine – Poetry, Non-fiction, Flash, Art & Photography (writers of colour/underrepresented writers) – 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)

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

Neon Magazine – Poetry, Flash, Art and more – 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)

Prelude – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

River Styx – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Drama, 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)

Sunday Mornings at the River – Poetry – open (submit online)

Tab Journal – Poetry, Poetics – open (submit online)

Tears in the Fence – 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 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 New Yorker – Poetry, Fiction – open (submit online)

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

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

The Poetry Village – Poetry – open (submit online)

The Poetry Review – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

The Seventh Quarry – Short Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

The Times Literary Supplement – Poetry (submit by post)

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

Tinderbox Poetry Journal – Poetry – open (submit online)

Trasna – Poetry, Fiction, Essays (open to writers across the world who consider Ireland a home in some regard) – 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 NOVEMBER 2022, 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 – June 2022

Hello Summer! The poetry list is back with over 140 poetry competitions, writing submissions and opportunities open or with deadlines in June 2022.

It’s been a slow start to the month for me kicking off with an internet outage – Mercury retrograde or a reminder from the Universe that summer is a time to slow down and take things easy? History will decide. Despite tech woes, the Fool’s Gold | Writing the Tarot workshop went without a hitch last weekend and the Writing Slant | Making a Poem 6-week course is now up and running, with a new group of writers eager to develop and hone their craft. Last week, we looked at expanding the world of the poem and drew inspiration from Barbara Guest, Annie Dillard, Robert MacFarlane, Maggie Smith and more.

Ideas are already brewing for a new summer writing challenge – look out for more information at the beginning of July. And, if you want to get the scoop on upcoming events before everyone else, take advantage of early-bird prices, AND have the poetry list delivered straight to your inbox each month, jump on the mailing list here.

Whatever you’re up to with your writing this month – drafting, honing, editing or 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!


JUNE 2022

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year – Poetry – closes 3 June (submit online)

Write by the Sea Writing Competitions – Poetry, Fiction, Flash – closes 3 June (submit online)

Eat the Storms – Poetry, Fiction, Art, theme: Eat the Storms – closes 4 June (submit online)

iOTA Shot Poetry Pamphlet Awards – Poetry manuscript (15-20 pages) – closes 6 June (submit online)

Mslexia Showcase – Poetry, theme: Keys – closes 6 June (submit online)

Under the Radar Magazine – Poetry – closes 7 June (submit online)

Abridged 0-82 – Poetry, Art, theme: Axis – closes 10 June (submit online)

Live Canon Poetry Collection Competition – Poetry manuscript (35+ poems) – closes 10 June (submit online)

Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize – Poetry manuscript (20 pages) – closes 12 June (submit online)

HOWL Writing – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art & Photography – closes 12 June (submit online)#

Aurora Prize for Writing – Poetry, Fiction – closes 13 June (submit online)

Channel Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Essay, Art – closes 15 June (submit online)

Chicago Review – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 15 June (submit online)

Fourteen Hills – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Art – closes 15 June (submit online)

Imposter Lit – Poetry, theme: Geography – closes 15 June (submit online)

Petrichor Magazine – Poetry, Visual Poetry, Video, Art – closes 15 June (submit online)

The Four Faced Liar – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Creative Non-Fiction, Art – closes 15 June (submit online)

The MacGuffin Poem Hunt – Poetry – closes 15 June (submit online)

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

Michael Hartnett Poetry Award – Poetry Collection in English (3rd or subsequent collection) – closes 17 June (submit online)

Palette Poetry Sappho Prize for Women Poets – Poetry – closes 19 June (submit online)

The Straid Poetry Collection Awards – Poetry manuscript (38+ pages) – closes 20 June (submit online)

The Poetry Kit Spring Competition – Poetry – closes 21 June (submit online)

The Arts Council Agility Award – All artists – closes 23 June (submit online)

The Arts Council Literature Bursary Award – All genres – closes 23 June (submit online)

The Mechanic Institute Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction – closes 24 June (submit online)

The Puritan – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 25 June (submit online)

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

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

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

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

Candlestick Press – Poetry, theme: Christmas Stories – closes 30 June (submit online)

Fawn Press Poetry Pamphlets – Poetry manuscript (18-25 poems) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Fingal Poetry Festival Competitions – Poetry (English & Irish) – closes 30 June (submit online)

Granta – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction – closes 30 June (submit online)#

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

Mud Season Review – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Art – closes 30 June (submit online)

Okay Donkey – Poetry, Flash – closes 30 June (submit online)

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

Poetry London Competition – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

Queen Mary Wasifiri New Writing Prize – Poetry, Fiction, Memoir – closes 30 June (submit online)

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

Rust + Moth – Poetry – closes 30 June (submit online)

Split Lip Magazine – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Memoir and more – closes 30 June (submit online)

The Fairy Tale Review: The Rainbow Issue – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, Art (queer writers only) – closes 30 June (submit online)

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

Whale Road Review – Poetry, Flash – closes 30 June (submit online)

AUB International Poetry Prize – Poetry – closes 1 July (submit online)

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

Duck Duck Mongoose – Poetry, Flash – closes 3 July (submit online)

Coverstory Books International Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 4 July (submit online)

Lyrik Kabinett Poet-in-Residence – Poetry – closes 4 July (submit online)


OPPORTUNITIES WITH RECURRING DEADLINES

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


OPPORTUNITIES WITH OPEN SUBMISSION PERIODS IN JUNE 2022

The Shahidah Janjua Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 8 July (submit online)

McLellan Poetry Competition – Poetry – closes 10 July (submit online)

Frontier Open Poetry Award – Poetry – closes 17 July (submit online)

Ambit Competitions – Poetry, Fiction, Art – closes 31 July (submit online)

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

Impossible Archetype – Poetry (LGBTQ+ poets of all genders) – closes 1 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)

Antipoetry Magazine – 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)

Crow & Cross Keys – Poetry, Fiction, Flash, theme: Gothic – open (submit online)

Crowstep Journal – Poetry – open (submit online)

Damnation – Poetry, Prose, Flash – open (submit online)

Disabled Tales – Poetry, Fiction, Essay – 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)

Jaden Magazine – Poetry, Non-fiction, Flash, Art & Photography (writers of colour/underrepresented writers) – 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)

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

Neon Magazine – Poetry, Flash, Art and more – 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 – (submit online)

River Styx – Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Drama, 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)

Sunday Mornings at the River – Poetry – open (submit online)

Tears in the Fence – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

The Compass Magazine – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

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

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

The Lake – Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

The Seventh Quarry – Short Poetry – open (submit online)

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

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

The Times Literary Supplement – Poetry (submit by post)

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

Tinderbox Poetry Journal – Poetry – open (submit online)

Trasna – Poetry, Fiction, Essays (open to writers across the world who consider Ireland a home in some regard) – 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 JUNE 2022, 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

Poetry Competitions & Submissions – December 2014

Poetry Competitions & Submissions - February 2016

10 days to the end of December and if you feel you haven’t quite lived up to your potential on the writing front this year, there’s still time to get new work out, before the bells strike for 2015. Here are the poetry competitions and writing submissions on my radar for the rest of the month:

(Click on links for info)

Sentinel Annual Writing Competitions – Poetry & Short Story – closes 21 December;

Ropes 2015 – NUI Galway’s Annual Literary Anthology – Poetry, Prose, Artwork & Photography – closes 30 December;

Berfrois Poetry Prize  – Inaugural Poetry Competition – closes 31 December;

The Incubator Journal – Poetry, Short & Flash Fiction – closes 31 December;

Guernsey’s International Poetry Competition 2014 – judged by Andrew Motion – closes 31 December;

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize 2014 – judged by Michael Symmons Roberts – closes 31 December.

And for those of you who want to get a head start on publication in the new year:

The Mississippi Review Prize 2015 – Poetry & Fiction – closes 1 January 2015.

Best of luck!

(Illustration by Nicole Ray via Etsy)

Poetry Competitions: Play by the Rules

Hoisted on my own petard!

Only last week, I was holding forth on the importance of proofreading work carefully, before making submissions or entering into competitions, and, this week, I receive a message from the organisers of one of the competitions I’d entered advising my entry was ineligible because it’s only open to UK residents…

Lesson of the Week: Check the poetry competition / submission rules carefully and abide by them!

If the organisers had simply bundled up my entry and chucked it in the bin, muttering, “Complete numpty”, I certainly wouldn’t have blamed them. Which is why what they actually did blew me away.

Continue reading