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The Poetry Society UK National Poetry Competition 2022


About competition 

The National Poetry Competition 2022 is now open. The National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for an unpublished poem of up to 40 lines, open to all poets worldwide aged 18 or over.

Ten Prizes

First Prize: £5,000
Second Prize: £2,000
Third Prize: £1,000
Commendations: £200

Deadline: 31 October 2022


Jason Allen-Paisant

Jason Allen-Paisant is an award-winning poet and non-fiction writer. His critically acclaimed debut collection, Thinking with Trees, won the Poetry category of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His work has been published or anthologised in GrantaThe GuardianThe Poetry ReviewCallalooNew Poetries VIII, The BBC, More Fiya: A New Collection of Black British Poetry, among others. His second collection, Self-Portrait as Othello, will be published by Carcanet in March 2023. Jason holds a Doctorate in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and is currently Associate Professor of Aesthetic Theory and Decolonial Thought in the School of English and the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds.

Greta Stoddart

Greta Stoddart’s first collection At Home in the Dark (Anvil) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 2002. Her second book, Salvation Jane (Anvil), was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award 2008 and her third, Alive Alive O (Bloodaxe, 2015), was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2016, and included a poem shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem. Her latest work, a radio poem ‘Who’s there?’ broadcast on BBC Radio 4 was BBC Pick of the Week and shortlisted for the 2017 Ted Hughes Award. Her fourth book Fool will be published in September 2022. She lives in Devon and teaches for the Poetry School.

Michael Symmons Roberts

MSR is from Preston, Lancashire. He has published eight books of poetry including Drysalter which won the Forward and Costa Poetry Prizes and Corpus which won the Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. A regular broadcaster and dramatist, his work includes essays for Radio 4’s Something Understood, an adaptation of Paradise Lost for BBC radio with Sir Ian McKellen as Milton and an original verse drama – Men Who Sleep in Cars – for BBC TV, filmed in Manchester starring Maxine Peake. His work as a librettist has been performed in concert halls and opera houses across the world and his English versions of the poems for Schubert’s Winterreise will be performed this year by Lyric Opera Chicago. His Selected Poems was published by Cape in 2016 and his most recent collection – Ransom – in 2021.


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 18 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome.
  2. The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 October 2022.
  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. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  5. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  6. Online entries made via the website will receive automatic confirmation at the time of submission.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The judges read all the entries; their decision is final. Neither the judges nor Poetry Society staff will enter into any correspondence.
  10. 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 2023.

Rules: Fees

  1. The first poem submitted costs £7. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £5 per poem. Poetry Society members (including those joining at time of submission) get one free second poem, with subsequent poems at £5.

Rules: Winners

  1. Prizewinners will be notified by the end of February 2023 and invited to an awards event in spring 2023. 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 2023.
  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 2023 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. 
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