National Poetry Competition

sitting 2aThe Poetry Society’s annual National Poetry Competition is for previously unpublished single poems and has a first prize of £5,000. 


The 2016 National Poetry Competition is now closed for entries. Winners will be announced on 29 March 2017.

Ten prizes

First prize: £5000
Second prize: £2000
Third prize: £1000
Seven commendations: £200 each

Winning poems are published on The Poetry Society website, and the top three in The Poetry Review. Winners are invited to read at events and festivals all around the country, including Ledbury Poetry Festival. Up to 150 longlisted entrants will also be offered discount on selected activities from The Poetry Society, and one of our competition partners the Poetry School.


Moniza Alvi, Gerry Cambridge and Jack Underwood.

Closing date

31 October 2016

National Poetry Competition 2016 Artwork by Isabel Rock
Artwork by Isabel Rock


First prize: Eric Berlin for ‘Night Errand’
Second prize: David Hawkins for ‘Long Distance Relationship with a Mountain’
Third 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. 

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’.


Sarah Howe, David Wheatley and Esther Morgan.

The Longlist

The following poets were long-listed for their entries in 2015.

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



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