poetry competitions | an image of some poetry written on a page of paper

Entering competitions is a big and valuable first step for poets, as it builds your track record and gets your work out there, putting you on the path to pamphlet or collection publication.

There are loads of poetry competitions looking for new and exciting work. Some are free to enter; others charge fees. Some good places to find out about them are:

National Poetry Library

Poetry Society

New Writers

Neon Books

Christopher Fielden

Competitions which are specific to you in some way (such as where you live, for women only, poets of a certain age range) or fit your work thematically can be better to go for as there’s somewhat less competition. Judges whose work you really love and have been influenced by can be another thing to look for, but ultimately all competitions are looking for your best work.

Always read the guidelines and make sure you follow them fully!

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