Got a really great poem? First prize is £5,000

The 2020 National Poetry Competition

Run annually by The Poetry Society since 1978, this is one of the most prestigious poetry competitions for a single unpublished poem, up to 40 lines.

Open to all poets worldwide aged 18 or over.

Ten Prizes
First Prize: £5000
Second Prize: £2000
Third Prize: £1000
Commendations: £200

The first poem submitted costs £7. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £4 per poem. Poetry Society members (including those joining at time of submission) get one free second poem, with subsequent poems at £4.

Judges include Neil Astley, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Jonathan Edwards.

Entrants from NW England are also eligible for the Peggy Poole Award to win a year’s mentorship with Vona Groarke

You can read all ten of last year’s winners on the Competition site. Unfortunately only one of them has real form, Ann Pelletier-Topping’s sestina Granddaughter Moves In; it’s a good poem, but I’m not really fond of sestinas. The ten winners are all weighty, substantial, both in their subject matter and in their analysis. Most of them, therefore, are pushing the 40-line limit, though there is one that is only 13 lines long. Of course the judges will be different this year, but these past winners are all worth considering if you are choosing one of your own poems to submit.

Enter online by midnight on October 31 – but remember, that’s midnight UK time… earlier in the day in the Americas.

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