We recommend all entrants read the rules carefully before entering. If you have any questions please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Rules: General

  1. The competition is open to anyone aged 17 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome.
  2. The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 October 2019.
  3. There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.
  4. Postal entries will only be accepted when accompanied by an entry form (forms may be photo-copied). One entry form may cover multiple entries.
  5. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  6. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  7. If you would like confirmation that your postal entry has been received, please include a stamped addressed envelope/postcard with your entry. Online entries made via the website will receive automatic confirmation at the time of submission.
  8. Telephone or email confirmation of receipt is not available. Poetry Society staff are unable to confirm the content of documents submitted online, so please ensure you send the correct version.
  9. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified.
  10. The judges read all the entries; their decision is final. Neither the judges nor Poetry Society staff will enter into any correspondence.
  11. No current employee or Trustee of The Poetry Society is eligible to enter the National Poetry Competition.

Rules: Poems

  1. All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  2. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title). Entries can be on any subject.
  3. Poems must be the entrant’s original work.
  4. Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or made public on social media, broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition before 31 March 2020.
  5. Handwritten entries cannot be accepted. Postal entries should be typed and printed in black ink on A4 paper at a minimum type size of 12pt. Poems may span two pages but pages must not be double sided. Entries can be double or single spaced. Please do not staple pages.
  6. Entries must be written in English.

Rules: Fees

  1. The first poem submitted costs £7. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £4 per poem. Poetry Society members (including those joining at time of submission) get one free second poem, with subsequent poems at £4.
  2. Payments must be made in £ sterling. Entries accompanied by payment in a currency other than £ sterling will not be accepted. Cheques, credit/debit cards and postal orders are accepted. Cheques should be made payable to The Poetry Society. Please write your name and phone number on the back of cheques.

Rules: Winners

  1. Prizewinners will be notified by the end of February 2020 and invited to an awards event in spring 2020. All winners will be expected to provide a biography and photograph.
  2. All entrants who provide a valid email address will be notified about the outcome of their entry by the end of March 2020.
  3. The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant The Poetry Society the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their poem. Use of the poems elsewhere for one year from March 2020 is subject to permission from The Poetry Society.

Peggy Poole Award

  1. The Peggy Poole Award is a talent development scheme running alongside the National Poetry Competition. It is an additional prize, judged separately. It does not affect the judging process of the National Poetry Competition.
  2. The prize will be awarded to an entrant of the National Poetry Competition, who adheres to all its associated rules, and who is living in the North West of England at the time of entering. The full list of eligible UK postcode regions for the purposes of this Award is: BB, BL, CA, CH, CW, FY, IM, L, M, OL, PR, SK, SN, WA and WN. No additional fee is payable by the entrant.
  3. The prize is mentorship from a leading poet, who will also judge the Award.