The AVBOB Poetry Competition | 5 Tips for Entering a Poetry Contest | AVBOB Poetry

5 Tips for Entering a Poetry Contest

Have you ever thought about entering a poetry contest? Perhaps you consider any poetry contest to be out of your league and only for professional poets? Maybe you have a bank of poems stored in a ledger and simply assume they’re not good enough to be entered into a competition? Of course, at the end of the day, only you can decide whether to take the plunge in allowing your work to be judged.

Perhaps the following tips can help you decide which of your poems might stand a chance in a poetry contest:

  • Tip 1: The most amazing aspect of writing poetry is the complete freedom of expression it gives the author. A poem can be abstract or “concrete” in delivery – i.e. full of metaphors and similes, or direct and matter of fact in composition. However, once chosen, it is important to adhere to your preferred method throughout.

  • Tip 2: So many potential poets are held back by the internal question of “but what if it doesn’t rhyme”? The answer to that is “so what?” There has not and never will be a rule that demands that a poem has to rhyme – as a budding poet, you have probably come across haikus which very rarely rhyme at all.

  • Tip 3: If you fancy your chances in a poetry contest, but feel the need to write something new and fresh, it is important to choose a comfortable genre – a subject you’re already very familiar with. The important thing here is to never feel afraid of letting your imagination soar. Use those puns, expand on your usual everyday vocabulary, and throw in those metaphors.

  • Tip 4: When finding any appropriate poetry contest, it is important to allow yourself plenty of time, so choose one of which the submission deadline is still months away. With any form of writing, including poetry, the more time the better when it comes to editing. It is guaranteed that any poetry contest entrant will have written a dozen or more drafts of the same poem before pressing that “submit” button.

  • Tip 5: Keep a “My Poetry Contest” notebook and pen with you at all times. Inspiration can come at any time, regardless of how inopportune, and for all the technological breakthroughs in the last century, the trusty notebook and pen have never failed any author. A small jotter that can fit into even the smallest of inside jacket pockets or clutch bags is a usual winner – it proves much better than scribbling on the back of a receipt.

The AVBOB Poetry Project is an example of where to find an excellent poetry contest and you will see a plethora of beautiful poems in many languages from previous competitions over the years on our website. Perhaps you may even find inspiration for your own creation from the various themes around celebrating life, bereavement eulogies, and poems of future hopes. Be brave and good luck!