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End of Year Competition Round-up

End of Year Competition Round-up

Let's round the year off with a bit of competition news. Overall 69 submissions resulting in 6 acceptances, 0 longlist and 2 shortlists. a handful of submissions are still open and won't be accepted or declined until sometime next year.

I honestly had no idea of my success rate until I set up a spreadsheet with a formula to keep track of the number of accepted, declined, shortlisted, longlisted and awaiting response poems I had in circulation each year. I estimated that I was hovering around the 4 percent mark for acceptances so it comes as a happy thrill that I have an 8.7 percent success rate (11.6 percent if you include the shortlists).

Recent News:

I had a couple of nice bits of news recently, about poetry competitions I'd entered earlier in the year. First up was Disability Arts Cymru, who I've mentioned before on this website, who have an annual painting competition for disabled artists who are given a theme to respond to. The following year they have a poetry competition, again only for poets with a disability, in which you can respond either to the theme or to one of the artworks. Another competition I entered was run by Live Canon, who I've also mentioned a couple of times this year in my poetry posts. Live Canon hold an International Poetry Competition that has a £1,000 prize for the winning poem and I'm always drawn to the chance of making my poetry pay for a few meals :)

Disability Arts Cymru Poetry Competition

The theme for 2015 paintings and 2016 poems was austerity and extravagance. I picked two paintings and responded to their titles and I also used the theme in both poems.

Photo of A Tree in Two Movements by Rose Foran
Caption: Painting titled A Tree in Two Movements by Rose Foran

photo of Dressing Up Dressing Down by Gemma Paine Caption: painting titled Dressing Up, Dressing Down by Gemma Paine

My two poems were titled The Unfinished Story of a Tree in Two Movements, and Glad Rags. When I first found Rose's painting's title, A Tree in Two Movements, I immediately thought of Schubert's Symphony No.8 known as the Unfinished. The symphony is not called the unfinished because Schubert didn't get around to completing it, by choice or death, it was called the unfinished because it intentionally only has two movements, where a traditional symphony would have had four. It is a fantastic piece of music and is well worth a listen :) My poem uses the tempo markings of each movement as the sub-headings of my poem's two stanzas. What I love is that, on reading Rose's artist bio info it reveals she does like classical music, so I hope she will get to see my poem. My poem looks at two Christmas trees, the first all decked out in tinsel and lights; the second is a re-telling of the nativity story, set on the streets of a modern day city, with a homeless family, the mother, the father and a new born baby, gathered around their improvised tree. I was delighted to learn that this poem was commended in the competition.

My second poem, Glad Rags, responds to Gemma's painting, Dressing Up Dressing Down, and is a poem that will be in my pamphlet, Dressing Up when it is published by Cinnamon Press early in 2017. I took care to mention this to Disability Arts Cymru before I entered it in case that would invalidate its eligibility. Thankfully it didn't and it too will be in the poetry competition anthology. My poem again contrasts the extravagance and the austerity, this time encountered in a high street clothing store.

Live Canon International Poetry Competition

At 1:30pm on Friday 11th November, two days before I was due to set off for my residential poetry week with Arvon at the Lumb Bank centre, Ted Hughes' old house in Hebden Bridge, I received an email telling me that my poem, Pooh Sticks, which is about the rivers and streams I've lived beside, had been shortlisted for the Live Canon poetry prize. I'd have loved to attend the awards event in the Greenwich borough of London, but as that was going to be on the 20th November, the day after I returned from Lumb Bank, I would need to make sure I could arrange assistance from rail staff, and also from a friend or the Live Canon members, to get me from Paddington all the way over to Greenwich and back again. The logistics proved too tight so at 6am on the Monday morning I emailed Live Canon and let them know that I'd sadly not be able to attend. I was happy to learn that attendance was not a condition of being able to receive the £1,000 prize, though as it turned out my poem was not the winning one :(. Pooh Sticks is in the competition anthology, which you can get on the Live Canon competition page (there's a button halfway down the page.

Keeping Going

Not to rest on my laurels I squeezed in two more submissions this week. Another fantastically large amount of money awaits winners in the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, with 10,000 Euro for the winner and 3 prizes of 1,000 Euro for the runners-up. The entry fee is not cheap, 12 Euro per poem (£10.50ish depending on the exchange rate) but I applied my standard cost:potential-benefit measure and decided I'd send in 2 poems which, if one of them wins, means I'll be able to eat at least until February ;). The judge is Deborah Landau, and I took the time to read her 2015 collection The Uses of the Body which I enjoyed a lot. I also sent in two poems for ROPES 2017 anthology. ROPES is produced by students of NUI Galway's Masters in Literature and Publishing programme. There's no fee for entering and there's no prize money. All profits from sales of the anthology go to a local charity. The theme of the 2017 anthology is silence. I found it very difficult to find information on the web so here are the pertinent details.

  • we accept any interpretation of the theme in the forms of works of prose, poetry, drama, art, & photography
  • the word count is limited to 1700 words
  • submit your work by Wednesday, DECEMBER 21, 2016 to

Wrapping it All Up

It's a lovely way to end the year, which started with me making the shortlist in the Cinnamon single poem competition, then my pamphlet being a winner in the Cinnamon pamphlet competition, and now at the end of the year to be commended in the Disability Arts Cymru competition and shortlisted by Live Canon. I hope I can maintain this momentum into 2017 :)

#DisabilityArtsCymru #LiveCanon #TheMoth #ROPES #CinnamonPress #Arvon #LumbBank #Poetry #RoseForan #GemmaPaine #Paintings

Published incompetitions and submissionsPoetry


  1. If there were a competition for blogs about entering competitions, this entry would have won first prize!

  2. Giles Giles


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