Single-poem contest 2021

Winners of the 2021 competition

First prize: Emily Carr with “Turning Words”

Second Prize: Samantha DeFlitch with
“I am a Parking Chair”
Third Prize: Wendy Allen with “A Portrait of Mustard”
Highly Commended: Jane Burn with
“If I was all the Tiny Horses”
Highly Commended: Sara Nesbitt Gibbons with
“Looking at Her Missing Brother’s Paintings: ‘East Finchley’ “

Commended poets (the longlist)

Ankh Spice
Ben Verinder
Brenda Henderson
Cheryl Pearson

Jane Spray
Jenny Pagdin
K. S. Moore
Kathy Miles
(3 poems)
Oliver Comins
PR Walker
Rachel Carney
Rachel Goodman
Susan Szekely
Thomas Moody
Wendy Allen
William Erickson

The 2021 single poem competition is for entries of up to 70 lines on a theme of TRANSFORMATION. Prizes of £300, £100, £50, have been awarded to the winners, and publication in wildfire words will follow shortly.

We are proud to announce that Fiona Sampson is the lead judge for TRANSFORMATION competition. Fiona has adjudicated the winners and shortlist of commended poets from a long list compiled by triage judges Anna Saunders, and Zoe Brooks, who between them read every entry.

Read the winning poems from the 2020 contest

Winning poems from 2021 will be published shortly.

2021 Contest opened: 1 December 2020
Closing date: 11.59pm 15 March 2021

2021 Competition Rules

  • Open to all poets from anywhere in the world.
  • To maintain anonymous judging, there must be no identifying marks on any poem or title..
  • All poems must be entirely the entrant’s own work and must not have been published in print or online before the closing date of the competition.
  • All entries must be in English and no translations are permitted unless the poet has translated their own original poem.
  • Your entry should contain no more than 70 lines. You may submit up to four entries, provided an entry fee is paid for each. Each poem must be in a separate file in Word or  Rich Text format.
  • Each poem must have a title for reference in judging. Each file’s name should be the title of its poem, or the first four words if the title is long.
  • Entries should be submitted as a Word or PDF file. After paying your entry fee you can attach your entry or entries to your entry form.
  • Do not put any identification on the work. The competition administrator will match your entry title to your email address after anonymous judging is complete.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but a poem must be withdrawn in the event of it winning a prize or publication elsewhere. Entry fees are not refundable once an entry has been received.
  • Work will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  • We are unable to give feedback on individual entries or on the results of the competition — the judges’ decisions are final.
  • The results will be published on this web site and on social media by 30 April 2021 and Winners will be announced at a special Cheltenham Poetry Festival. event on 12 June.
  • Entry fees are £4 per poem or £14 for 4 poems. (The special Early Bard discount ended in January.
Publishing arm of Cheltenham Poetry Festival
Ezine of Cheltenham Poetry Festival 

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