The National Poetry Competition has been one of Britain's top single poem competitions since 1978. It is judged by a new set of judges each year, and all poems are made anonymous before they are judged. The National Poetry Competition is organised by the Poetry Society, one of Britain's most dynamic arts organisations, representing poetry both nationally and internationally.
The top-three winning poems will be published in Poetry Review. The winner is also invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2013. Up to 150 entrants will also be offered a discount on selected activities from the Poetry School. Winning and commended poems will be published on the Poetry Society website when the competition prizes are announced in spring 2013.
This year the judges are: Vicki Feaver, W. N. Herbert and Nick Laird.
Each poem entered in the competition has to meet the criteria presented bellow:
1. The competition is open to anyone aged 17 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome.
2. The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 October 2012.
3. There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.
4. Postal entries will only be accepted when accompanied by an entry form (forms may be photocopied). One entry form may cover multiple entries.
5. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
6. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
7. If you would like confirmation that your postal entry has been received, please include a stamped addressed envelope/postcard with your entry. Online entries made via the website will receive automatic confirmation at the time of submission.
8. Telephone or email confirmation of receipt is not available. Poetry Society staff are unable to confirm the content of documents submitted online, so please ensure you send the correct file.
9. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified.
10. The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor Poetry Society staff will enter into any correspondence.
11. No current employee or Trustee of the Poetry Society is eligible to enter the National Poetry Competition.
12. All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
13. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title). Entries can be on any subject.
14. Poems must be the original work of the entrant.
15. Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or broadcast before 31 March 2013.
16. Handwritten entries cannot be accepted. Entries should be typed and printed in black ink on A4 paper. Poems may span two pages but pages must not be double sided. Entries can be double or single spaced. Please do not staple printed entries.
17. Entries must be written in English.
18. The first poem submitted costs £6. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £3 per poem. Poetry Society members (including those joining at time of submission) get a free second entry, with subsequent poems at £3.
19. Payments must be made in £ sterling. Entries accompanied by payment in a currency other than £ sterling will not be accepted. Cheques, credit/debit cards and postal orders are accepted. Cheques should be made payable to the Poetry Society. Please write your name and phone number on the back of cheques.
20. Prizewinners will be notified by the end of February 2013 and invited to an award ceremony in spring 2013. All winners will be required to provide a biography and photograph.
21. The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant the Poetry Society the right to publish and/or broadcast their poem for one year from March 2013. Use of the poems elsewhere during this time is subject to permission from the Poetry Society.
First Prize: £5000
Second Prize: £2000
Third Prize: £1000
Seven Commendations: £100
£6 for your first poem
£3 for each subsequent entry in the same submission.
FREE second entry for Poetry Society members.
The closing date is midnight (UK time), 31 October 2012.
Winners' names will be added to a roll-call that includes the current UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Harrison, Ruth Padel, Philip Gross and Jo Shapcott.
Good luck to all participants!