Poetry Contests: Did you know you can actually make money by entering Poetry Contests?
There are hundreds of thousand of dollars awarded to poets in various contests and grants around the world. $15,000, $10,000, and $5000 prizes are not uncommon. $65,000 is one of the top awards, $100,000 is another top award.
Most poetry contests award much smaller sums with the prizes ranging from $50 to $500. Some contests give you a cash prize, PLUS publish your poem in an anthology AND send you a complementary copy of the book.
There are numerous contests that award prizes which include the the best of both worlds for poets — a substantial cash prize AND a legitimate publishing contract.
The fact is, there are literally dozens of poetry contests open for entry at any one time, giving you opportunities to enter and to win.
Some contests are for ONE poem, others are for collections of poems. Book length poetry contests include unpublished collections as well as published mid-career collections.
Before I tell you about some of the best contests to enter, I NEED to inform you about poetry contest SCAMS. Please read the following article, because for some reason poetry contests attract a LOT of scam artists, trying to part you from your well earned money. Beware Of These Poetry Contest Scams
With that scam warning out of the way … the fact is, there are hundreds of legitimate contests to enter. Some are FREE, some are NOT. The good news is that some of the highest paying prizes are from FREE to enter contests!
Many of the contests with entrance fees have medium to large prizes and may also include a paper book with the winners poems. Sometimes, having a book with your poem in it IS the prize. Only YOU can decide whether the entrance fee is worth it.
Just to give you an idea of what is out there, here is a short list of some simply fabulous poetry contests:
Poetry Foundation Emily Dickinson First Book Award
Includes a $10,000 cash prize as well as a publishing contract. FREE
Walt Whitman Award
Includes a $5,000 cash prize as well as a publishing contract. FREE
Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets
Includes a $1,000 cash prize and a publication contract for a book-length collection of poetry by an unpublished African poet. FREE
University of Akron Press
$1,500 and publication by University of Akron Press for a poetry collection. $25 Entry Fee
Rattle Poetry Prize
$10,000 for a single poem.
All of the contests I’ve listed above are on the high side.
BUT it gets even better. Take a look at the contests and the rules. These are what legitimate poetry contests look like. Be sure to look at the prize winners. Do YOUR poems measure up? Should you start entering these contests now … or do you have to work at it a bit more. Poetry is VERY subjective so keep that in mind when entering!
Here’s something you can dream about and work towards …
Griffin Poetry Prize
This contest is for poetry books published by traditional publishers.
Up to C$200,000 awarded. One TOP prize of $65,000 to a Canadian Poet, one TOP prize of $65,000 to an International poet and numerous $10,000 prizes to runners up.
The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
The “small” cash prize of $15,000 is nice. The incredible prestige that comes with a Pulitzer Prize is invaluable.
Where can you find MORE poetry contests?
Here are some great resources. BUT be aware that some of these lists may include scam contests. Most of the list creators simply list all contests they can find, or that are submitted to them. They simply do not have the time to vet all the contests they list. It is UP TO YOU to know how to identify scam contests.
Poets and Writers
I highly recommend this resource. They are one of the few list aggregators that vet the contests they list. They also allow you to do comprehensive searches by genre and entry fees.
This website have a nice selection of contests from the UK. Many are open to poets worldwide … so be sure to check them out.
A nice list of writing contests. You can search specifically for poetry contests.
A small list of writing contests … fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Can you make STEADY money with poetry contests?
NO, you can NOT.
But winning a contest and getting a check for $1500 isn’t something to sneeze at. A “win” credit on your resume may help you sell your poems to greeting card companies, help sell your Kindle book or enable you to snag a traditional publisher.
My advice is to start by entering the FREE contests. There are plenty of them to choose from! If you plan on entering contests with entry fees, set a monthly or yearly budget and stick to it!
AND Never, ever give up with your poetry writing dreams!
Please let us all know if you have won any poetry contests … what was your prize? Send pictures, include your poem.
Be sure to read about and learn how to avoid Poetry SCAMS.
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