Members’ Poems

The Members’ Poems competition sets Poetry Society Members the task of writing a poem or poems on a theme chosen by a leading poet. 

Sujata Bhatt, who judged the latest competition on the theme of ‘Survival & Extinction’, chose poems by the following as her winners: Karen Jane Cannon, Jennie Carr, Pamela Crowe, HilaireChristine Marshall and Rose Proudfoot. Warmest congratulations to all of them! 

Our thanks and commiserations to all those who sent in poems but weren’t selected this time. Please don’t be discouraged – we receive hundreds of entries and our judge is only able to pick six. Details of our latest competition are published below.

Look out for videos of our six winners reading their poems on the theme of ‘Survival & Extinction’, which we’ll make available in the coming weeks.

All poems published in Poetry News are also eligible for the Hamish Canham Prize each year and between 2014 and 2018, the Anne Born Prize. The latest winner of the Hamish Canham Prize is Jo Burns.

Poetry News spring 2022 competition: Solastalgia

Sheri Benning

Our spring Members’ Poems competition, which is now open for entries, will be judged by Sheri Benning, who has chosen the theme ‘Solastalgia’. 

Sheri explains, “‘Solastalgia’ is a neologism by way of the Latin sōlācium (comfort) and the Greek root – algia (pain, suffering, grief). It was coined by Glenn Albrecht to describe the emotional disturbance we experience when confronted by changes to our home environments induced by escalating environmental devastation. In Canada we’ve experienced unprecedented flooding, forest fires and drought. How to articulate this state of ‘new sadness’ for beloved home-places irrevocably changed by anthropogenic climate catastrophe? How to cope with the anxiety of feeling homesick for where we are? Could poetry help provide a language for this new affective state?”

Sheri Benning’s collections include The Season’s Vagrant Light: New & Selected Poems (Carcanet), Thin Moon Psalm (Brick Books) and most recently Field Requiem (Carcanet, 2021). Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Times Literary Supplement, Brick and PN Review. She lives in Saskatchewan, where she teaches.

Submission details
  • The deadline for entries is 15 February 2022; poems must be unpublished as of our spring issue publication date of end March 2022.
  • Please send no more than TWO poems on the theme of ‘Solastalgia’ (any additional poems will not be sent to the judge).
  • Poems must be a maximum of forty lines, typed on A4, with your membership number, not name and address, at the foot. Entries that do not carry a membership number cannot be sent to the judge.
  • Please enter online via Submittable at thepoetrysociety.submittable.com/submit, as the post continues be disrupted by the coronavirus epidemic. You will need to create your own Submittable account but this is a straightforward process.  If you have difficulties using Submittable, you can email your poems to Mike Sims, Editor, at [email protected]
  • Winners appear in Poetry News and win books and entry into the Hamish Canham Prize.