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

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  • October 6, 2023
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  • 7 min read


Have you ever penned down your feelings in the form of a poem? 

Ever thought about sharing it with the world? 

Well, Poetry Contests might be the perfect way for you. 

Not only do they offer a chance for your voice to be heard, but they also can give you a chance to earn some money for your creative efforts. 

Let’s get into Poetry Contests, where your words can shine and reward you in many ways!

Poetry Contests

Poetry Contests are more than just competitions. They play a key role in a poet’s journey. For starters, they offer budding poets a platform. Think of it as a stage where your words can dance in front of an eager audience. Additionally, these contests can act as a confidence booster for someone just dipping their toes into the world of poetry. When your work is recognized, even a small nod can mean the world. To discover more about the impact of Poetry Contests on poets, check out this post on overcoming a challenge and what you learned as a result.

Moreover, these contests can act as a confidence booster for someone just dipping their toes into the world of poetry. When your work is recognized, even a small nod can mean the world. Learn more about boosting your confidence in the world of writing with this post on aesthetic quotes for Instagram.

Plus, it’s not just about the fame or money. Participating can lead to your work catching the eyes of publishers or seasoned poets. This can open doors you never knew existed!

Every time you enter a contest, you reach new audiences. Readers can resonate with your words, forging an emotional connection. That’s the magic of poetry. . For more insights into how Poetry Contests can boost your poetic journey, explore this post on writing a historical book.

Tips Before You Submit For The Contest 

So, you’ve decided to give Poetry Contests a try. Great decision! But before you click that ‘submit’ button, here are some simple yet important tips to remember. To explore tips for submitting to Poetry Contests and ensuring your work stands out, check out this post on fantasy and sci-fi books.

But before you click that ‘submit’ button, here are some simple yet important tips to remember.

  • Read for Guidelines 

First and foremost, read the guidelines. It sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how many overlook this step. Each contest will have its own set of rules. Some might ask for a certain theme or a specific style. Ensure you align your poem with these requirements.

  • Tailor your poem

Next, tailor your poem if needed. If a contest has a theme, like “springtime” or “memories,” your poem should reflect that. It’s like fitting a puzzle piece in its right place.

  • Originality must be present. 

Originality is king. Always submit work that is uniquely yours. Copying someone else’s work is a big no-no. Remember, judges have a keen eye and can usually spot a piece that’s not genuine.

  • Never underestimate Proofreading 

Lastly, give your poem a once-over. Check for typos, grammar, and flow. It’s like dressing up for an important event – your poem should be in its best form when presented.

Top 10 Paid Poetry Contests

Alright, now to the main and fun part! 

Here’s a list of some top-notch Poetry Contests suggested by the American Author House where not only can your work be celebrated, but you can also earn some cash prizes. 

(While these are well-known contests, always check their official websites for the most up-to-date information.)

The National Poetry Competition

A prestigious contest recognized internationally. Winning here is not just about the cash; it’s about the honor and exposure in the poetry community.

The Poetry Foundation’s Annual Contest

An opportunity for poets to get their work featured by one of the most esteemed poetry organizations. Plus, the cash prizes are quite generous.

The Walt Whitman Award

This contest is named after the legendary poet. This award seeks to find voices that resonate deeply. Apart from money, winners often enjoy publication opportunities.

The Forward Poetry Prize

Open to both budding and established poets, this contest boasts multiple categories. So, there’s something for everyone.

The Rattle Poetry Prize

A favorite among many, mainly because of its attractive cash prize and the chance to get featured in Rattle, a highly regarded publication.

The Moth Poetry Prize

An international contest known for its rich history and substantial cash reward. Being recognized here can boost your poetic career immensely.

The Bridport Prize

Offering separate categories for poems and short stories, the Bridport Prize has a broad appeal. The cash rewards are quite handsome.

The Pushcart Prize

Though not a conventional contest, being nominated and winning is an honor in the literary world. Plus, your work gets to be part of the prestigious Pushcart anthology.

The Griffin Poetry Prize

One of the richest poetry awards in terms of cash prize. Beyond money, the recognition here can be a game-changer for poets.

The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition

This contest celebrates generosity in poetry and is open to poets from all corners of the world. And, of course, the cash prizes are a cherry on top!

Common Contest Themes and Styles

As you invest more time in poetry, you’ll notice some common themes and styles. Understanding these can give your poems an edge. 

Love: A timeless topic, poems about love, in all its forms, never go out of style. From romantic love to the love between a parent and child, this theme has countless facets to learn about.

Nature: The beauty of the world around us, the changing seasons, the flora and fauna, nature provides endless inspiration for poets.

Memories: Nostalgia is powerful. Poems that transport readers back to a moment, a place, or a feeling can be incredibly moving.

Struggle and Triumph: Life is full of ups and downs. Poems that tell stories of challenges faced and obstacles overcome resonate deeply with many.

Identity: Themes of self-discovery, cultural roots, and personal journeys are increasingly popular.

Sonnets: A classic 14-line poem, often associated with love but can be adapted to any theme.

Haikus: Originating from Japan, these short, 3-line poems capture the essence of a moment. They’re great for nature themes.

Free Verse: Free verse poems give poets complete freedom without any specific rhyme or rhythm. They’re perfect for raw, emotional themes.

Narrative Poems: These tell a story, taking the reader on a journey from start to finish.

Acrostic: Poems where the first, last, or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or message.

Main Attributes and Elaborate Information

Topic Description Tips/Insights
Introduction to Poetry Contests Discusses the importance and benefits of participating in poetry contests. Explore contests to gain exposure and build confidence.
Impact on Poets Details how contests provide a platform and boost confidence. Join contests for recognition and to challenge your skills.
Beyond Fame and Money Describes the additional benefits like catching the eyes of publishers. Participate for broader opportunities, not just rewards.
Contest Participation Highlights the emotional connection and audience reach of entering contests. Share your work to connect with a wider audience.
Submission Tips Provides advice on reading guidelines, tailoring poems, and ensuring originality and proofreading. Read guidelines carefully and submit original, polished work.
Top 10 Paid Poetry Contests Lists prominent contests with rewards and recognition. Research and choose contests that align with your style and goals.
Common Themes and Styles Discusses popular themes and styles in poetry contests. Use this knowledge to craft resonant and relevant poems.


Engaging in Poetry Contests is more than chasing accolades; it’s about growth, expression, and community. Whether celebrating a win or learning from a miss, each step shapes your poetic journey. Remember, every poem penned and shared adds depth to your voice. Embrace challenges, cherish achievements, and let your passion for words be the guiding star. The world awaits your verses; keep writing and keep shining.

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