The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition, 2021



We are pleased to announce that our annual Open Poetry Competition is now open for your entries. It is being judged this year by Rishi Dastidar, a well-known poet and editor whose most recent collection Saffron Jack is published by Nine Arches Press.

The deadline for entries is 31st January, 2021.

As in previous years, we offer seven prizes:

1st Prize: £1000

2nd Prize: £300

3rd Prize: £100

4th Prize: 4 x £50

Entry fee: £5 per poem; 3 or more poems, £4 each.


Email Entry

Email entries should be sent to after paying your entry fee using the Paypal buttons below. Please write COMPETITION ENTRY as the subject header.

Please attach all poems in a single Word file, with each poem starting on a new page. Pages should be formatted A4. All poems are judged anonymously and should not bear your name, nor any other form of identification. In the body of your email please include:

  • Your name and address
  • A list of poems submitted
  • Where you heard about the competition
  • Your Paypal transaction reference number.


Postal Entry

Each poem must be printed on a separate sheet of A4 paper. All poems are judged anonymously and should not bear your name, nor any other form of identification. On a separate sheet of A4 paper, please give:

  • Your name and address
  • A list of poems submitted
  • Where you heard about the competition

Entries should be sent with the fee by normal post (NOT registered post) to:

The Competition Organiser, 58 Glebe Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9BD, UK.

For a receipt, please supply an email address, or enclosed a stamped addressed envelope/postcard marked Confirmation of Receipt.

Any number of poems may be submitted on payment of £5 per poem, or for three or more poems, £4 each. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to Kent & Sussex Poetry Society. No foreign currency accepted. Pounds Sterling or Sterling Drafts are accepted.


Closing Date: 31st January, 2021

All entries will be read by the judge.

  • The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over
  • Poems must be in English, unpublished, not accepted for publication, and must be your own original work
  • Poems may be on any subject in any form or style. They must be typed and be no more than 40 lines
  • Winners will be notified by email or post. No person will be awarded more than one prize. The prize-winning poems will be published in the Society’s annual Poetry Folio in September 2021
  • Winners will be asked to read their poems at a Zoom event on 20th April, and will be informed before then. The full list of winners will be announced on our website, on or shortly after that day. Rishi Dastidar, the judge, will also read from his own work at that same event. 
  • Poems cannot be returned to the contestants. The decision of the judge will be final, and there can be no correspondence concerning the result.
  • The competition closes at midnight (GMT) on 31 January, 2021. Email entries should not be sent after that time. We will accept postal entries received by Friday 5th February, provided they are post-marked no later than 31 Jan.


Pay here if you are entering UP TO TWO Poems, at £5 each

Pay £5 each here for UP TO TWO poems



Pay here for THREE OR MORE poems, at £4 each

Pay £4 each here if you are entering THREE OR MORE poems



37 responses to “The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition, 2021

  1. Hello,

    I read your guidelines but cannot see anything mentioned about the copyright of submitted poems to the open poetry contest.

    I’ve got a few poems that I intend to publish by the year-end so it really matters for me whether I retain the copyright over the poems I submit.

    I understand that the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society could publish my poems in their folios and that is alright with me.

    Please advise,

  2. Is the title included in the 40 lines or does the line count begin on the first line of the poem?

  3. Kay

    Hi – are there rules on the use of profanities in a submitted poem?

  4. Tina Mistry

    I would like to enter this competition but had a query on the entry guidelines. I have a poem which i have online in my blog and also on a poetry website. Is it ok to enter these poems please?

  5. Christian Stapleton

    I’m 17, is it okay for me to enter my poem?

  6. My poems are on nature
    The sun stirred like the empty cloaked dorm A silent eagle held in my hands the bird was clapping in celebration of a new world.
    Mornings sun rouse like old life. Opening in front of me bleeding raw sore towering like a hot volcano erupting like a spot pussy with molten hot liquid mornings sun rouse through the dark red lens of life pouring blood through new raw veins pulling the old away through the sun’s womb.

  7. Vinita

    If the poem has been published in an online journal, will it be eligible to enter the contest?

  8. Sarah

    Are there any guidelines regarding self publishing after submission to the competition? I am hoping to self publish my book of poems in mid March, but would love to submit one of them for this competition. Would this be an issue?

  9. Pingback: Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition 2021 – international call for entries – The Poetry Shed

  10. Fay Clark prenga

    I wrote a poem the other night about Dover where I lived until I was taken into care. Im not very good as I left school at 11 and had to teach myself how to read and write but poetry has helped me learn over the years and I only entered to get some feed back as Iv never shown anyone any of my poems before and I have written loads.
    Its probably atrocious compared to the standard that other people are writing poetry at, but its worth entering to learn and have fun.

    • All poetry is worth writing, and all poets should feel free to enter the competition. Our judge has no preconception of what the winning poems should look like, or say…. Good luck!

    • george free

      Hi Fay, the first positive step is that you are prepared to have a go at writing poetry. Some of the finest poets and artists in history had backgrounds that were dreadful but inside they had the belief and determination to overcome any obstacles in their way to produce some great works. The more poetry you write the better you become. I have written only one poem myself but I have re-written the same poem about thirty times. I have been trying to refine my poem so that it will at least be competitive in a poetry competition.
      Kind regards

  11. Hi, if it was posted to a personal Instagram page to share with friends, does this count as “published”?

  12. When it says unpublished does this include social media posts?

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  14. Pingback: 300+ Writing Contests You Need to Enter in 2021 - Kotobee Blog

  15. Bill Dodd

    When will the results be announced?

  16. Deborah

    Hi team, I’m also wondering if it’s open to non residents please? I live in Melbourne, Australia.

    Many thanks 😊

  17. Lucy Nelson

    Is this competition open to people living in London?

  18. Deborah DCruz

    Hi Team, I live in Australia … is this competition open to non-UK residents please?

  19. We don’t have the capacity to publish books. Sorry

  20. james lawless

    how can I submit a book to you

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