/10 Paid Poetry Contests (And How To Enter Your Poem To Win!)

10 Paid Poetry Contests (And How To Enter Your Poem To Win!)

Are you a budding poet looking for a platform to showcase your talent and earn some money doing it? Or maybe you are an avid lover of poets who is always looking for new and exciting voices in the world of verse? Either way, poetry contests can be perfect!

With plenty of contests held throughout the year, there are ample opportunities for you to enter your work, compete against other poets, and potentially win prize money and recognition.

So whether you’re a newcomer or have been in the poetry game for quite some time, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about poetry contests and where to find them…

Are poetry contests a good way to earn money?

Absolutely! There is a lot of money to be made in poetry contests, and not to mention the instant confidence and credibility boost you will gain from being a part of them too.

Most contests award sums of up to $500, however it is not uncommon to find prizes in the range of $1000 or more. Plus, there are a dozen contests that are open for entry at the same time, giving you more chances to win!

While many of these contests offer great cash prizes that can help you in your writing career, it’s important to note that some entries are more focused on awarding token prizes, such as a magazine publication or some kind of honorarium.

Where to find the best poetry contests and how to enter:

Before we dive into the many contests that take place, we need to give you a quick disclaimer about the unfortunate scams that can, in very rare cases, occur. Be sure to check out the telltale signs if you are not sure if a poetry contest is completely legit or not.

#1 – Youth Poetry Contest 2023

This poetry competition is specifically for people between the ages of 5 and 18 living in the UK, and this year’s theme is ‘memory’. This theme was chosen because of its close relationship with the Causley Trust, a charity that celebrates the work of the famous poet Charles Causley.

How to enter: Poems must be emailed digitally to admin@causleytrust.org

Deadline: March 31, 2023
Prize: Judged by David Devanny and others on a panel, the prizes are awarded to first, second and third place with the prizes being presented at the 2023 Summer Festival of Arts and Literature.

#2 – Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

A poetry contest that is interested in seeing the best humorous poems with a maximum presentation of 250 verses. There is no age restriction for this contest, and both published and unpublished work are accepted.

Deadline: April 1, 2023
Prize: First place prize is $2,000 plus a two-year gift certificate from title sponsor Duotape ($100 value). Second place is $500 and the 10 finalists after that receive $100 each. All 12 entries in total will have their work published online.

#3 – 2023 Alpine Fellowship Poetry Awards

Alpine Fellowship is hosting its poetry contest from early January through March 2023. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and all entries must be written in English. They accept a single poem or a collection of poems with a maximum of 500 words per entry for the contest.

Deadline: March 1, 2023 before midnight (UK time)

Prize: First place receives a cash grant of £3,000, second place receives £1,000 towards travel expenses and third place receives £1,000 towards travel expenses with each finalist receiving support towards travel expenses to attend the 2023 symposium.

#4 – BSFS Annual Poetry Contest

Every year, the Baltimore Science Fiction Society hosts a poetry contest with an amazing theme for avid poets to get hooked on. This year’s themes are science/fiction/fantasy/horror/science. 3 poems per person can be accepted and must have a maximum of 60 lines each to be sent. There are no entry fees and poems must be submitted through this shipping link

Deadline: March 1, 2023

Prize: 1st place = $100, 2nd place = $75, and 3rd place = $50.

#5 – Austin Community College – Balconies Awards

This poetry contest requires an entry fee of $25 for poems and $30 for fiction. Submissions should be sent to balcones@austincc.edu.

Deadline: February 28, 2023

Prize: Two prizes of $1,500 will be awarded for a collection of poetry and a book of fiction published in the previous year. Authors or publishers can submit three copies of a book published in 2022, and any collection of poetry must be at least 42 pages.

#6 – James Welch Prize for indigenous poets

He James Welch Award is awarded to two outstanding poems, each written by a Native American poet. The award is open to newcomers who are recognized within their tribal nation communities within the US and only poets who have not yet published more than one book in any genre are eligible. This poetry contest is to celebrate and recognize the native writers that are in the community.

How to send: Each entrant can submit up to three poems in a single submission, but be sure to only enter once. Submissions must include a cover letter with tribal affiliations along with a short bio. Avoid including personal information in poems, as entries will need to be anonymous at every stage of the judging process. More information on how to submit can be found here.

Deadline: February 28, 2023

Prize: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Poetry Northwest are awarded annually for a single poem by an indigenous poet. Winners will also get an all-expenses-paid trip to read with the judge next fall.

#7 – OmniDawn Publishing – First/Second Poetry Book Contest

Judged by Sawako Nakayasu, Omnidawn Publishing’s poetry contest seeks a wide range of approaches, forms, and diversities (such as lyrics and prose poems) to submit to the judge. Online submissions from all over the world can be accepted and simultaneous or multiple submissions are accepted. An entrance fee of $35 is required.

Deadline: February 28, 2023

Prize: The winner will receive $3,000 plus 20 author copies given annually for a first or second collection of poetry.

#8 – Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

Broadside Lotus Press, which organizes this poetry contest, uses this as an opportunity to honor an African-American poet for his literary work. For this contest, two copies of a manuscript of approximately 60 to 90 pages must be submitted before the deadline. Entrance fees are not required. Submissions should go to broadsidelotus@gmail.com

Deadline: March 1, 2023

Prize: The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $500 and a Broadside Lotus Press publication.

#9 – Four Way Books

Every year, four way books run the Levis Prize in Poetry for experienced and upcoming poets to showcase their work. You must submit a 48-80 page poetry manuscript online through the submission system. There is an entrance fee of $30. This year’s judge is Diane Seuss.

Deadline: March 31, 2023

Cash prize: $1,000 plus a Four Way Books publication. The winner will also be invited to participate in readings online or in person in New York City.

#10 – Fish Publishing – Poetry Award

Established in 2006, Fish Poetry Award is hosting its annual pageant with Billy Collins as the judge. Billy will select the 10 poems that will be published in Fish Anthology 2023. There is a $15 entry fee and he can enter as many times as he wishes. The length of the poem is restricted to 60 lines and the winning work must not have been previously published, according to the rules of the contest.

Deadline: March 31, 2023

Prize: A cash prize of $1,055 will be awarded to the winner, plus an annual publication in the Fish Publishing anthology for a single poem. The winner is also invited to read at the West Cork Literary Festival in July along with the nine finalists.

For more information about this contest, you can visit the website here.


And that’s a wrap!

Participating in a poetry contest offers several benefits to poets, such as receiving feedback from the judges, gaining exposure for their work, and of course, winning amazing cash prizes!

It also helps you gain confidence and recognition to continue the amazing writing projects you do.

Be sure to carefully read all the guidelines and submission requirements before entering any poetry contest and also double check that your work fits the style or theme the judge is looking for so that you have the best chance of winning.

All that’s left to say is – good luck and happy writing!

Further reading: Looking for something creative writing prompts?