continuing the experience of resonance…

Guardian Poster Poems is giving permission to plagiarise. It calls for the writing of a poem containing a line which has already been published. The text can come from anywhere so long as it is not your own.  Here is an opportunity to continue the experience of resonance. When a line stands up on the page, or the sense of a poem reminds you of something long forgotten, instead of putting it to one side in isolation, you can take this opportunity to play with the feelings it evokes, follow your thoughts and see where they lead you. Writing for competitions and deadlines is a useful discipline and once a month the Guardian makes a new suggestion for content.  Licence to Steal is the best subject for some time.

Poetry competitions and magazine calls for submission

York Literature Festival, in association with YorkMix, launches its first-ever poetry competition.

First prize: £100 Second Prize: £60 Third Prize: £30. Four commended poets will each win £15. The competition will be judged by award-winning poet Carole Bromley, and prizes will be awarded on Monday, March 18th at the Black Swan pub in York. Check out the rules here

Buxton Poetry Competition 2013 is now open!

Our theme in 2013 is History and Heritage. Poems could reflect your own history, tell the story of a person or event in history or be a much wider interpretation of this challenging theme. Download an entry pack and read winning poems from 2012 here

Indent issue 2

Last weekend for submissions to Indent issue 2; the annual literary print journal based at Staffordshire University’s Creative Writing Department, Stoke-on-Trent. “…we hope for high quality, international examples ( no, specimens) of volcanic prose & scintillating poetry that push the boundaries of what-is-what. Hybrid pieces: very welcome, as too are personal essays, heteroglossic texts that cannot be pinned down in any way.  WE are looking for NEW literatures that challenge the notion of genre. Hybrid and mash-up, blended & cognitive, alert & alternative. ” Go to for more details

Butcher’s Dog

Publishers of poems from writers with distinct voices, go to  for more details. Submit up

  • to 3 unpublished poems in the body of an email to Submissions
  • welcomed from all writers living in the UK particularly those with a connection to Northern England.
  • Next deadline: 1 March 2013 (Issue 2)


The classics can wait. Make poetry fun.

Government funding of £500,000 to promote poetry in schools sounds fantastic. Spending it on a new national poetry recitation competition for 14 to 18-year-olds has potential. But asking students to memorise and perform a poem such as Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley or anything by Shakespeare will not help young people to engage with contemporary poets or poetry. Most of all, it isn’t encouraging them to explore writing poetry and learning the art of maximum expression in the minimum number of words.

I haven’t seen the list. Benjamin Zephaniah may be there, Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy or anyone of the recognised poets from the past 50 years would be good. But associating poetry with lines like ‘Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain’; is removing it from every day language and disguising its potential for relevance. The classics can wait. We need to make poetry fun and culturally defunct English is not the way to do it.  Teenagers to recite Ozymandias off by heart in schools

Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition

The 27th annual Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition is now open for entries. Entrants are invited to submit a collection of 20-24 pages of poems for the chance to win a cash prize and publication by Smith/Doorstop Books. Judged by Simon Armitage, closing date is 29 November (post) or midnight 1 December (online). A £1 surcharge is applied to online entries. I’m guessing this is for printing expenses.

Entering competitions is good practice. It can be motivating to have a structure and a deadline to work to. The downside is submission often comes at a cost. There’s not much money in poetry so to some extent its understandable why charging for entry is seen as an income generator, but the £25 being charged by Poetry Business seems more of a deterrent than incentive. The explanation is as follows:

Our two expert readers and judge all need paying appropriately for what is many hours of intensive reading. In addition, the competition needs to be promoted, there are substantial administration costs, £2,000 prize money and a winners’ reading – all of which is paid for by the entry fees. (The winning collections are printed and publicised out of our usual budget.) The competition makes up an extremely important part of our income though, and allows us to continue with our less lucrative activities (such as publishing poetry!).

Fair enough but  £25 is a lot of money and risks reaffirming poetry’s reputation as exclusive rather than being for everyone.

If you have 20-24 poems plus a spare £25, the competition details are here

Poetry Book Society; free membership and free competition for students

The Poetry Book Society*  is offering free membership to students in UK higher education. Members have access to an online version of the Bulletin, the PBS quarterly review as well as 25% discount on books. The Society is currently inviting entries to its first Student Poetry Competition.  The closing date is 5th December 2012 and will be judged by George Szirtes winner of the 2004 T S Eliot prize  for his collection Reel.  All that’s needed is to select student from the online membership form and attach a digital photo of a current student card.

*The Poetry Book Society was founded in 1953 by T S Eliot and friends to ‘propagate the art of poetry’ by bringing the best new poetry to readers.