The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition



The deadline for the 2018 competition is 31st January 2018. The Judge is poet Helen Ivory and she will read all the submissions.

First prize: £1,000
Second prize: £300
Third prize: £100
Plus 4 x £50

How to enter –

A. By post

1. The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over.
2. Poems should be in English, unpublished, not accepted for publication, and must be your original work.
3. Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style. They must be typed and not longer than 40 lines.
4. Each poem must be typed 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 you should give a: your name and address, b: a list of poems submitted, and c: where you heard about the competition.
5. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for receipt of entry if required (marked RECEIPT) or for results sheet (marked RESULTS – published mid-2018)
6. Any number of poems may be submitted on payment of the appropriate fee: £5 per poem, or for 3 or more poems £4 each. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to KENT & SUSSEX POETRY SOCIETY. No stamps foreign currency accepted. Pounds Sterling or Sterling Drafts will be accepted.
7. The winners will be notified by post. No person may win more than one prize. The prize-winning poems will be published in the Society’s Poetry Folio in September 2018 (available £3 from the address below). Poems cannot be returned to the contestants. The decision of the adjudicator will be final, and there can be no correspondence concerning the result.
8. Entries should be addressed to: The Competition Organiser, 26 Courtlands, Teston, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5AS.  (Please note: A4 envelopes require ‘Large Letter’ postage)

Entry form not required. This leaflet may be photocopied. Or download details from our website.

B. On line

Rules as above but pay by Paypal (links below) and then e-mail your poems to us as an attachment, giving the Paypal receipt reference. Please submit your poems as a single Word file (but with each poem on a separate page), and submit (in the same e mail) a separate Word file giving your contact details and the list of titles.

Our e-mail is

No receipts will be sent. Winners will be contacted by post. Results will be published on our website mid-March.

Single Poem – £5

2 Poems – £10

3 Poems – £12

4 Poems – £16

5 Poems – £20

31 responses to “The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition

  1. Hi there – could you perhaps set up an autoresponder so that all emails to are at least acknowledged – so that people know their poems have arrived? It would only take a minute to set up (‘Thanks – your email has been received’) and wouldn’t require any subsequent attention. This is quite common practice, eg Magma do it for al their submissions, as does the Bridport prize, Troubadour etc. Otherwise, it’s quite possible that although payment has been made, the poems haven’t arrived. Thanks.

  2. Results are published on the website.

  3. Hannah

    Hi please can you confirm whether the 40 line limit for poetry includes spaces between verses or is simply 40 lines of writing? thanks, Hannah

  4. Hannah

    Great, thank you very much for the prompt response! Hannah

  5. Selorm

    Hello, can you still publish your work online after submission?

  6. Kevin

    Is this British nationals only, or can people living abroad participate?

  7. Alex

    Do you publish the winning poems? If so, how and where?

  8. Jeanette Williams

    I would like to know what type of poems you are looking for?
    HUmouress, rhyming, free verse, any particular subject?

  9. Hello – do poems I have posted to my own blog count as published?

  10. James

    Why must we use Microsoft Word? It is very expensive and there are free alternatives.

  11. Alex

    The rules do not state what date the winner will be announced. When is that please? It’s important to know as I have a poem I may want to re-submit to another competition a bit later in the year. Thank you.

  12. tashaoneill

    Can you confirm that the poet will retain ownership/rights over their work?

  13. There seems to be no real guidance about what sort of poetry might be within the gambit of your competition. I have read through the guidance and it says any subject, which I appreciate but this really is overwhelmingly vague. I mean, this would mean poems geared towards children like “A cat sat on a mat” would be judged alongside potentially obscene, offensive material with offensive language, extremely risqué content e.g. rape, violence, abuse, drugs and then judged alongside a traditional sonnet to Mother Nature. I mean, is there any audience? Is it geared to an adult audience? Political persuasion or topic preference?

    • Have a look at the results on the website and this may indicate how wide the subject matter can be. The high standard expected is also clear from these poems – it is the quality of the writing that is judged. The judge does read all the poems submitted – over 1400 this year. Catherine Smith’s adjudication report will be published shortly and will indicate her reasons for choosing the prizewinners.

  14. Do you want the paypal ref on the word doc with each poem?

  15. Michael

    Hi – trying to make an entry but every time I hit a Paypal icon, I get an error message requesting me to contact the vendor to seek alternative payment methods. I have just emailed you a screen shot. And sent some submissions but have no Paypal reference because of this.

  16. can you please confirm when this year’s results will be published? the rules just say mid-2017
    thank you

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