The AVBOB Poetry Competition | 5 Ways to Prepare for Poetry Competitions

5 Ways to Prepare for Poetry Competitions

Poetry competitions offer aspiring poets a fantastic platform through which to showcase their art. By entering a poetry competition, writers set themselves a tangible goal, and this can accelerate the writing process and inspire poets to reach the desired target. They also offer a fantastic platform to network with other writers and poets and will undoubtedly enhance your skill and experience as a poet. If you have been on the fence about entering poetry competitions, it might be time to take the leap.

At best, you will win an award and gain fantastic exposure, and at worst, you will push yourself to create. In our eyes at the AVBOB Poetry Project, these are both positive outcomes that are sure to bolster your writing abilities.

If you are ready to embark on the world of poetry competitions, keep these preparation tips in mind. Be sure to also keep a lookout for AVBOB’s famous poetry contest and stand the chance of putting yourself on the map as a poet.

  • Find a Competition that Inspires You: With so many competitions abound, it can feel a little overwhelming. Any aspiring poet should spend some time exploring various contests and see which organisations and literary groups speak to them. It is always a good idea to network with other poets or online poetry groups. These will keep you in the loop about various competitions and are often a fantastic space where fellow poets can engage. Like any industry, networking is paramount and can enhance your craft.

  • Read All the Rules (and Then Read Them Again!): When the throws of art and poetic devices enthral you, it can feel somewhat dull to have to go back and read those dreary rules. Unfortunately, they are rather important and will shed light on pertinent information like word limits, themes, fonts, and submission dates. Be sure to read the rules twice so that you do not miss out on anything.

  • Get Writing: Once you know your theme and you have read the rules, it is time to start your poem. The best thing to do is to start writing, even if it is not perfect at first. In fact, it rarely is. Give yourself permission to run wild and jot down words, images, phrases, and metaphors that spring to mind. By allowing your creativity to pour out of you, you give yourself permission to experiment with varying styles, images, and devices. Give yourself ample time before the competition closes so that you can come back to your poem and make any necessary changes.

  • Make it Professional: Once you have created your poem, it is time to make it look professional. As the Irish author, Oscar Wilde, once famously wrote, “A poet can survive everything but a misprint.” Make sure that you have proofed your work to avoid any typos, spelling or grammar mistakes etc. Read it again before your final submission. Also, select a professional, clean font for submission like Times New Roman or Arial (unless the competition rules actively call for a particular font.)

  • Take the Leap: Once all your lines are primed and polished, it is time to take that final leap of bravery. Submitting your poem to poetry competitions might feel daunting or even downright terrifying, but part of being a poet is having the courage to surrender and allow the world to see the words on the page.

Explore AVBOB’s World of Poetry and Competitions

If you are ready to explore the magic of poetry competitions, examine our dynamic poem library, which covers themes, including love, hope, birth, and death. Poems are divided into all 11 of South Africa’s official languages, speaking to the diversity and inclusion of the poetry project.

If you have ever thought about entering poetry competitions, one of the best things you can do is explore the winning entries and get a feel for the topics, ideas, and devices used. While the art of writing a poem is individual and you need to share your own story, an engagement in the wider canon is important for the development as a poet and writer. Poetry competitions are undoubtedly a brilliant way to hone your craft and engage with the world of poems.