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. Read on for details of our upcoming competition.

Huge congratulations to the winners of our most recent competition, on the theme of ‘Surreal cities’, judged by John McCullough. They are: David Bleiman, Genevieve Carver, Tim Kiely, Alexandra McCauley, Patrick Maddock and Laurie Smith. 

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 ‘Surreal cities’, 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 winter 2021 competition: Survival & extinction

Our winter Members’ Poems competition, open for entries, will be judged by Sujata Bhatt, who has chosen the theme ‘Survival & extinction’. 

Sujata Bhatt has published nine collections with Carcanet including a Selected and a Collected Poems. Her numerous awards include the Mexican International Poetry Prize, Premio Internacional de Poesía Nuevo Siglo de Oro 1914-2014. Her work has been widely anthologised, broadcast on radio and television, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She has been a visiting writer at various international institutions throughout the world. In spring 2020 she was the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau, Germany. 

Submission details
  • The deadline for entries is 1 November 2021; poems must be unpublished as of our winter issue publication date of end December 2021.
  • Please send no more than two poems on the theme of ‘Survival & extinction’ (any additional poems which will not be submitted 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 forwarded to the judge.
  • Please enter online via Submittable at, particularly as the post is likely to be disrupted during 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.