Poetry competitions: ins and outs

A couple of posts ago, I was pleased to report that my poem, ‘Towards a Safe Return,’ was shortlisted in the WoLF (Wolverhampton Literature Festival) poetry competition. My copy of the anthology  arrived in Monday’s post.


It comprises the five winning and forty short-listed poems on the theme ‘Out of Darkness’ (a tribute to Wolverhampton’s city motto, Out of darkness…cometh light). There were (almost) 700 entries from over 600 entrants.  As shortlists go, it’s a long one, but I’m pleased that my poem was amongst those chosen by competition judge Emma Purshouse.  I’ll insert a mugshot (of my poem) at the end of this post.

Competitions aren’t every poet’s cup of tea; for those that do partake, there’s the question of whether to go for the ‘biggies’ or the less prestigious/smaller/regional competitions, which of these might give the best chance of success etc as well as the motives for entering competitions in the first place (CV credentials, publication, validation, etc).  I’m more likely to enter a competition if I have a poem that fits/suits the theme.  Of the open competitions, I’m probably more drawn to those judged by poets I admire.  Angela Carr and Robin Houghton have written their own ‘takes’ on the subject.

The results of the Cafe Writers’ competition are out, I see, which means that the two poems I entered are now available for submission elsewhere (see how I turned that around)!  I’ll be casting my eye down Angela Carr’s monthly round-up of competitions, submissions and opportunities in search of the ‘best’ places to – er – place said poems.

Close to the deadline, I entered one poem for The Interpreter’s House ‘Open House’ competition.  Why?  To support a magazine that has gone from strength to strength under the joint editorship of Martin Malone and Charles Lauder Jnr, one I enjoy reading (and has twice published poems of mine).

As promised, here’s my WoLF competition poem: