Enter the Waltham Forest Poetry Competition

Waltham Forest Poetry Competition: WHERE I’M FROM

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Our theme this year is Where I’m From – and you can interpret that in any way you want. For example, it could be where you live, or where you used to live, or a ‘state of mind’ perhaps.

The competition is open to everyone (UK and international) and there also separate prizes for people who live, work or study in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, and a Young Poets (under 18) section.

We have an extra bonus. Even if you don’t win, any poems that specifically reference a location in Waltham Forest will have a chance of appearing in our poetry anthology ‘Where I’m From’ alongside the winners and Commended poems.

We’ll also have an award ceremony where all winners and Commended poets will be invited to come and read their winning poem/s.

Judge: Graham Clifford is a published poet and head teacher based in Waltham Forest. His latest collection is called Well, published by Against the Grain. grahamclifford.co.uk

Closing Date: Monday 7 October 2019 (midnight UK time)

Click here to enter online by Submittable (you’ll be asked to sign up if you haven’t used it before), but you can also enter poems by email or post – see below.


Entry fee: 1st poem £3, subsequent poems in the same submission £1 – up to 6 poems in total, 40 lines maximum per poem (not including title). Poets who live, work or study in Waltham Forest will automatically be included in the Local prize for no additional fee. 

  • Main prize: 1st £300, 2nd £200, 3rd £100. The overall winner will also be offered the choice of Poetry Society Membership (if they are not a Member already) or feedback on their poems via The Poetry Society’s Poetry Prescription/Poetry Surgery service.
  • Local prize: 1st £50, 2nd £30, and 3rd £20. The top 3 will also be offered a paid reading opportunity in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
No entry fee. Send up to 6 poems in total, 40 lines maximum per poem (not including title). Poets who live or study in Waltham Forest will automatically be included in the Local prize.
  • Main Prize: 1st £50, 2nd £30, 3rd £20.
  • Local prize: 1st £50, 2nd £30, and 3rd £20. The top three in the Local Prize will also receive Waterstones book tokens.
‘WHERE I’M FROM’ anthology: The top three poems in each of the Adult and Young Poet categories, plus a number of Commended poets as decided by the judge, will be published in our ‘Where I’m From’ anthology and on our website. In addition, poems that reference specific locations in the London Borough of Waltham Forest will be considered for our ‘Where I’m From’ anthology even if they aren’t among the winning or Commended poems.

Awards Ceremony: Prize winners will be notified as soon as possible after the closing date and invited to read their winning poem/s at the award ceremony at One Hoe St, Walthamstow, London E17 4SD on the evening of Thursday 14 November.

Poems are judged anonymously, so please don’t put your name or any identifying information on your poems.

At the time of entering the competition, you must be 18 or over to enter the Adult prize and under 18 to enter the Young Poets prize.

No person may win more than one prize, though more than one poem may feature in the list of Commended poems.


1. via Submittable – the quickest and most convenient way to send your poems. You can submit your poems online and pay* at the same time. If you haven’t used it before, you’ll be asked to sign up.  *The Young Poets prize is free to enter if you’re under 18.

2. by post to Waltham Forest Poetry Competition, 82 Somers Road, London E17 6RS. Entries to the Adult competition should be accompanied by a cheque payable to ‘Forest Poets’. We can’t accept debit/credit card payment. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like confirmation that we have received your poems. On a separate piece of paper from the poem/s, enter your name, address, daytime contact number and email (if you have one), and the poem title/s. This will ensure that poems are judged anonymously. Please don’t use staples on your manuscripts and don’t put any identifying details on the poems.

3. by email to poetrycompetition@yahoo.com with ‘Poetry Competition’ in the subject line. In the text of the email, please include:

  • your name, address and daytime contact number
  • the poem title/s.
  • method of payment – you can either pay by cheque, as above, or pay directly into our bank account – please state that your payment is for the Waltham Forest Poetry Competition.

Account Name: Forest Poets
Account Number: 51602934
Sort Code: 40-02-02

  • Attach your poems in a separate Word document, and please do not include any identifying information on the poems themselves. This will ensure that poems are judged anonymously.

JUDGING and odds ‘n’ sods

  • The judge will read all poems entered into the competition. The judge’s decision is final and neither the judge nor anyone associated with the running of the competition will enter into any correspondence.
  • Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  • No one associated with the running of the competition is eligible to enter.
  • Poems must be typed, in English, and the original work of the entrant.
  • Poems must not be previously published or self-published (including online), broadcast, accepted for publication elsewhere, or the translated work of another poet.
  • Due to the sheer volume of entries, only successful entrants will be notified. Details of the full winners list will be announced publicly on our website in November 2019.

Any questions? Email poetrycompetition@yahoo.com