The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition



The deadline for the 2020 competition is 31st January 2020. The Judge is poet Carrie Etter, author of Imagined Sons, Divining for Starters, and The Tethers, 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 Poems should be in English, unpublished, not accepted for publication, and must be your original work.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).
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 or 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 2020 (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, 58 Glebe Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9BD.  (Please note: A4 envelopes require ‘Large Letter’ postage)

Entry form not required.

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

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

  1. Pingback: Amazing Writing Contests to Enter in 2020 - Kotobee Blog

  2. Pingback: Poetry Competitions, Submissions & Opportunities – January 2020 – a dreaming skin

  3. Sereena

    Hello, I have made a payment in order to enter of £10 which is showing up on my bank statement but I haven’t had a reference number sent to my email to confirm my payment. If I can send my bank statement to you will that be enough of proof of payment?

    I had paid about a month ago. Is there anything I can do as I still want to enter?

  4. Niki

    Hi. Just double-checking as there’s no reference I can find in competition criteria to this – can a poem that has previously won an award in a competition (not this particular one and not first prize) be entered? Thanks.

  5. Alan Ford

    I have received a rather odd email from you. The sender didn’t use my name or leave his/hers. It said they hadn’t received my ‘document’ or ‘list’. I asked for a clarification but they haven’t responded. Can you let me know if you have received my poems and my payment?



  6. Elahe

    I live in Iran .How Can I pay for?

  7. Shahin

    Hi, is it an international competition?

  8. Sarah Miles

    Will the competition run in 2020? And if yes when will people be able to enter?

  9. people warn me away from paying into poetry competitions any advice?

    • We enable our programme of visiting poets for the year by running the competition, which is why there is a cost. We are highly respected. All entries are read by the judge, who is always a well-recognised figure in the world of poetry, and our results are published on the website along with the prizewinning poems. No member of the society is paid for the considerable work they do – they are lovers of poetry who come together to celebrate it. You can pay online by paypal, or send a cheque/PO by post, and if you want a receipt you enclose an sae marked receipt. I don’t think we can be more transparent or honourable!

  10. JA McGowan

    Greetings. May we know if the winners have been informed yet? There are deadlines for some other big things pressing hard, and non-winning poems cannot be resubmkitted until we know that the winners of this have been informed.

    Thank you.

  11. Kristie Smallfield

    Where do you post the winners?

  12. Jeanna L'Esty

    I tried to find a phone number to ask you is the 31st today as post marked acceptable or should you have received entries by 31st and I am too late? I have recently suffered a TIA and am struggling a bit….
    All the best

  13. Hi there, what is the time of the deadline for submissions today? Can I enter any time before midnight?

  14. Cath

    Hello, Can I submit poems that have won prizes at my local writing group? One has also been published in our writers group anthology.
    Many thanks.

  15. Zoë

    Is it possible to include one or two words that are not in english in a poem that will be submitted for the competition?

  16. Maura Robson

    Hi. Does ‘Open Competition’ mean international entries will be accepted? I am resident in South Africa and a South African national.

  17. Naïma

    Hello, I just submitted a poem ! But I was wondering : will you also notify the winners by mail, as I may be moving home soon, and would no longer receive any letter ? Thank you! Naïma

    • Winners will be notified by email and you can check the results on this website once they have been announced. The prizewinning poems will also be published here.

      • Naïma

        Hi, thank you ! Just another question : I paid with PayPal and sent you by mail the receipt number with my poem, but I checked my mails and I never received any confirmation from you. How do I know you received my entry?

      • It is not feasible to acknowledge all entries, I’m afraid. Postal entries which include an sae can receive a receipt of entry.

  18. Djimo Triki

    Forgive me, but I’m so inquisitive to know. Does The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition happen every year?

  19. Hi

    I’ve emailed you twice but no reply yet, just wondered if you could confirm you’ve had my entries as the email you sent was rather confusing.


  20. Natalie

    Do we know when 2018 poetry comp results will be published. I am keen to see the winners.

  21. Yvonne Glover

    Having never entered a poetry competition before and sending in the first poem I have ever written. Can I use my poem which has not succeeded somewhere else, another competition maybe. I would like to continue
    writing as I so enjoy it.

  22. Jinny Fisher

    Just to be clear, I’m not asking to know who the winners are! Just if you could confirm here that they have been informed? Magazine deadlines are approaching fast, and the poems we entrants have sent to you are still officially ‘submitted’ and therefore can’t be submitted to a magazine, until we know winners have been informed. Many thanks.

  23. The prizewinners will be announced at our meeting on 17 April, and published on the website after that.

  24. msjinnifer

    I hope it’s OK to ask for an update. Can we assume that the winners have been told now? I’m thinking if the website is due to publish the results, the letters must have been sent by now? Thanks!

  25. Michael

    Is it too late to enter this. Only just discovered your site.

  26. Miss Maria Bertolone

    To whom it may concern at Kentandsussexpoetry, Unfortunately I’ve only just received your email today 7/2/2018 telling me about this year’s open poetry competition. I know the deadline ended on the 31 Jan, would have liked to enter, but unfortunately it’s too late. Is there the possibility that you will be running any competitions later in the year? Thank you for all your time.

    Kind regards,
    Miss Maria Bertolone

  27. Hi, by ‘unpublished’ do you in print only or do you include social media and online? Does this include a poet’s personal webpage etc?

    I look forward to hearing from you


  28. You can send an sae with your entry for a receipt and for the results. Please look at the leaflet for details.

  29. It would be helpful, but is not a condition of entry.

  30. This is the situation at present.

  31. 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.

  32. I can’t help you with that one, Michael. Perhaps Paypal can.

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