Poetry competition - How to enter

Segora poetry competition 2017
Closing date: 15 June 2017
Results: 31 July 2017
Winning poems will be published on this web-site. Presentation evening and writing workshop to be announced.

First prize: £300 Second prize: £50 Third prize: £30
or equivalent €

Entry fee: £5 for single entry or 6.0€ add £2.50 or 3€ for each subsequent poem

Some thoughts on entering poetry competitions by A.C. Clarke

As an inveterate entrant of competitions – including this one – I always read with interest any comments by the judges on what they are looking for in a poem. At the same time, I am well aware that whatever they say the poems they finally choose will appear to some less successful entrants not to fulfil the stated criteria nearly as well as their own poems!

The truth is, it is much easier to say what you are not looking for as a judge than what you are because the best poems will take you by surprise every time. The best advice I can give is to choose what you (and others whose judgement you trust) consider your best unpublished work and see if you can make it even better – sometimes a change of word can bring a whole poem into sharper focus or subtly alter its melody. The often repeated advice 'come in late and leave early' is often repeated because it's good advice. The beginning and ending (especially the ending) are often the points in a draft poem which can be cut. The difference to the poem can be remarkable.

Do re-read your poems carefully: read them aloud, so that you can pick up where you are actually breaking the line (it may not be where you have made the break in the page) and also any snags in rhythm or unintentional dissonance; read them to yourself on the page paying careful attention to spelling and punctuation. Poems use language as their medium. It's important therefore to respect the conventions of language just as musicians respect the conventions of harmony. Even the most experimental musicians start from a thorough mastery of such conventions and so do the most successful experimental poets. A poem without punctuation or with deliberately distorted words is fine but the key is consistency and a clear sense of purpose. Look too at the words and images you've used – are they ones you've often seen used in poems and in danger of becoming hackneyed, could they be made more precise? Above all, don't over-explain. Another maxim often repeated because it is a good one is 'trust the reader'. 

Poems come in all shapes and sizes. When they are good they strike the reader as somehow being exactly right (and they can do that in spite of slight imperfections). Not only trust the reader but also trust your poems once you are confident they are at their best. I'll look forward to reading them all. And good luck!


How to enter

Provide a cover sheet with:

Name, address, email and telephone; a list of the titles of your entries; if paying by PayPal include the PayPal transaction number.
No identification should appear on the submissions.

Entries may be on any theme, in free verse or any form to a maximum of 50 lines.

Entries must be the original work of the author.

Entries should not have been published, self-published, broadcast or posted on the internet.

Entries should be typed in your preferred font, single-spaced in 12 point.

How to send
By email as a Word document or PDF file in an attachment to simms.gordon@orange.fr
By post: to J.A.Simms, 1, rue de la Sèvre, 79380 St. André-sur-Sèvre, France.
Entries will be acknowledged. The judge will read all entries. No discussion of results will ensue. Please note we do not offer critiques on competition entries.

Use the button below to pay with PayPal


Alternatively payment may be made by cheque payable to J.A.Simms sent by post to: J.A.Simms, 1, rue de la Sèvre, 79380 St. André-sur-Sèvre, France.