National Poetry Competition

The 2015 National Poetry Competition is now closed for submissions. The competition will re-launch at the end of May 2016. check back then for more information!

The Poetry Society’s annual National Poetry Competition is for previously unpublished single poems and has a first prize of £5,000. The competition deadline is on 31 October each year.

Artwork and animation by Matthew Richardson
Artwork and animation by Matthew Richardson

The winners of the 2015 competition are…

1st Prize: Eric Berlin for ‘Night Errand’
2nd Prize: David Hawkins for ‘Long Distance Relationship with a Mountain’
3rd Prize: Carolyn Oxley for ‘Biracial’

Eric Berlin’s winning poem explores a fleeting private moment: with a sleep-deprived dad making a dash to the shops on a mundane errand, a flash of anger, and the shame that follows. The setting is a mall in upstate New York, but the emotions and the experience are universally human.

Judge Sarah Howe described ‘Night Errand’ as “one of those poems that wouldn’t let you move on, but demanded a pause to dwell and recoup, followed by the compulsion to read it again. Its initial grip gave way to a sort of haunting”. 

Seven Commendations: Mara Adamitz Scrupe for ‘Arillus’, Geraldine Clarkson for ‘St Rose of Lima’s Revenge’, Simon Jenner for ‘Peter Philips’ Part Book Talks to Brueghel’, Afra Kingdon for ‘Tabasco’, Zaffar Kunial for ‘Six’, Howard Laughton for ‘Six Easy Calculations’, Fran Lock for ‘Gentleman Caller’.

For more about our winning poets, their entries, and this year’s judges, see our press release here.


Sarah Howe, David Wheatley and Esther Morgan.

The Longlist

This year we are also happy to name a selection of the longlisted poets:

A.C.H. Smith, Alan Ward, Alexia Staker, Alison Barr, Alison Porter, Amali Rodrigo, Amy Freear, Andre Mangeot, Andrew Lambeth, Bethany W Pope, Chloe Balcomb, Chris Edgoose, Chris Rice, Christopher North, Cynthia Hughes, David Tait, Debbie Benson, Derek Littlewood, Desiree Hellegers, Dolores Walshe, Edward Barker, Edwina Gleeson, Ekkehard Dengler, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Ellen Cranitch, Freya Dean, Graham Mort, Gregory Leadbetter, Harriet Husbands, Harriet Torr, Helen Oswald, Howard Wright, Ian McEwan, Jake Reynolds, James Friedman, Jane Todd Cooper, Jed Myers, Jeffrey Turner, Jenny Molberg, Jerrold Yam, Jim Green, Joanne Key, John Murphy, John D. Kelly, Jonathan Tel, Jonathan Edwards, JP Nosbaum, Julie Emerson, Kathleen Bell, Kenneth Sullivan, Kerry Rawlinson, Kieran O’Sullivan, Kim Moore, Kishore Minifie Ryan, Laila Farnes, Leah Larwood, Lesley Saunders, Lydia Kennaway, Madiha Bataineh, Maeve Henry, Mario Petrucci, Martha Sprackland, Martin Pearce, Matthew Jarvis, Melissa Barrett, Michael Woods, Natalya Anderson, Nichola Deane, Olivia Campbell, Pat Winslow, Patricia McCarthy, Patrick Toland, Patrick Brandon, Paul Carney, Paul Evans, Paul Mills, Peter Spafford, Pippa Little, Rachel Woolf, Richard Scott, Richard Tyrrell, Rishi Dastidar, Robert Saxton, Robin Knight, Roger Philip Dennis, Rosemary Norman, Rosie Shepperd, Roy Kelly, Sally Spedding, Sarah Leavesley, Sarah Roby, Stephanie Norgate, Stephen Spratt, Stephen Duncan, Sue Davies, Sue Banister, Tom Cleary, Tony Strong, Tracy Ryan, Trevor Ketner, Wes Lee

Filmpoems and prizes

Filmpoems of the winning poems have been commissioned in partnership with Alastair Cook and Filmpoem, and will be available to view on our website soon. The films will tour at festivals around the country and beyond.

The top-three winning poems are published in the spring issue of The Poetry Review and in a special Winners’ Anthology, distributed to members. The winners will be invited to appear at various events and festivals around the country, including Ledbury Poetry Festival. Up to 150 longlisted entrants are also offered a discount on selected activities from the Poetry School. Winning and commended poems are published on the Poetry Society website.



National Poetry Competition
The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street
London WC2H 9BX
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7420 9886