2020 Stanza Poetry Competition: Hear

The theme for the 2020 Poetry Society Stanza Competition is ‘HEAR’ – however you wish to interpret it – and the closing date is Tuesday 1 September 2020. Our competition is open exclusively to Poetry Society Stanza members who are also Poetry Society Members by (or on) Tuesday 1 September 2020. As long as you join both before the closing date, you can enter the competition. It’s FREE entry. Poems should be 40 lines maximum (not including title), no more than 2 poems per person. PLEASE GO TO THE RULES PAGE BEFORE YOU ENTER THE COMPETITION

Our judge is Heidi Williamson.

Heidi Williamson is a poet, tutor and writing coach. As well as running 1-1 online Poetry Surgeries on behalf of The Poetry Society (private feedback on your poems-in-progress, wherever you live), she has worked in schools, museums, private companies and as a writer-in-residence. She studied poetry and prose at the UEA, and reads and delivers workshops regularly throughout the UK. Her first collection Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe, 2011) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry. Her latest collection The Print Museum (Bloodaxe), won the East Anglian Writers ‘Book by the Cover’ Award and the 2016 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry.

In 2008 and 2009 Heidi was writer-in-residence for the London Science Museum’s Dana Centre. From 2011-2014 she was writer-in-residence at the John Jarrold Printing Museum. As an accredited Writing Coach, Heidi helps creative writers in 1:1 sessions both privately and through Writers Centre Norwich. She is a professional member of the Association for Coaching. She has many years’ experience developing and delivering writing workshops for adults and children, working with organisations including The Poetry School, Writers’ Centre Norwich, Poetry Anglia, the Science, Art and Writing Trust, Virgin, and for individual schools, festivals and writing organisations.

Her third poetry collection Return by Minor Road, is out now with Bloodaxe. She won the 2019 Plough International Poetry Prize, judged by Greta Stoddart. heidiwilliamsonpoet.com

History of the competition

The annual Stanza Competition began in 2007 and is open exclusively to Stanza members who are also Poetry Society members. Free entry. Prizes: The winning poet is given the choice of a free Poetry Prescription or a year’s Poetry Society membership – or the equivalent. There are two joint runners-up and ten commended poets. The theme for the competition is the antithesis or balance to that year’s National Poetry Day theme.

Previous winners

2019 Penny Boxall (York), judged by Geraldine Clarkson
2018: Richard Westcott (North Devon), judged by Penelope Shuttle
2017: Konstandinos Mahoney (Barnes & Chiswick), judged by Andy Croft
2016: Pat Winslow (Oxford 2 Stanza), judged by Ros Barber
2015: Graham Burchell (Exeter Stanza), judged by Jo Bell
2014: Robin Houghton (Brighton Stanza), judged by Les Robinson
2013: Jan Bay-Petersen (Cambridge Stanza), judged by Neil Rollinson
2012: Angela Stoner (Penzance Stanza), judged by John Siddique
2011: Julia Webb (Norwich Stanza), judged by Carrie Etter
2010: Michael Swan (Oxford Stanza),  judged by Sheenagh Pugh
2009: Julie Lumsden (Nottingham Stanza),  judged by Philip Gross
2008: Rich Goodson (Nottingham Stanza),  judged by Eleanor Cooke
2007: Emma Danes (Cambridge Stanza),  judged by Roddy Lumsden