International Poetry Competition

The results of our 2022 International Poetry Competition, judged by Caroline Bird, have been announced.

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre recently ran its 2022 International Poetry Competition to celebrate the power of poetry across the world!

Over 1,500 entries were submitted this year - more than ever before - and our judge, Caroline Bird, has announced the results. Huge congratulations to all the winners and to our shortlisted poets for this year too!


You can read the winning poems on this dedicated page.
 

EAL category
 

First Place: 'Orange Blossoms' by Angeliki Ampelogianni

Second Place: 'Rehearsal' by Elena Croitoru

Special Commendation: 'Hania at the End of the World' by Agata Masłowska
 

Open category


First Place: 'The Seventeenth' by SK Grout

Second Place: 'Sunday (Payday)' by Shaw Worth

Special Commendation: 'Paradise' by Katie Hale

 

Shortlisted poems and poets
 

'Ode to Abruzzo' by Italo Ferrante

'My Preschool Teacher Rips Tape from the Roll' by Atma Frans

'Sunday trips to Duisburg' by Petra Hilgers

'Lunar Eclipse' by Laboni Islam

'Motion Picture Industry' by Alexandra Melville

'The Science of Learning' by Ilse Pedler

'About Images' by Shaw Worth

'Khawuleza!' by Philani Amadeus Nyoni

 

Recording of the online awards event


We hosted an online awards event on 10 January and you can watch a recording of it by clicking on the video below.

To watch the video, we recommend that you click on the full screen option in the bottom-right of the image (the broken box icon). You can click on the arrow at the bottom of the video to view the live chat from the event, and click on the stream button in the top-right of the screen (it looks like a page with lines on it) to view the text of the poems alongside the video of the poet. Closed captioning is also available at the bottom of the screen. If you have any difficulty viewing the video, do let us know.



Many thanks indeed to everyone who entered this year's competition. We were grateful to receive and read such a wonderful range of writing and we are always excited to see the great richness of poetry across the world. Caroline tells us that she found making a selection of winning poems very difficult because of the high standard of entries!

Judge's report by Caroline Bird

Judging a poetry competition is different from reading a book of poems, instead it's like repeatedly waking up inside the heads of multiple people and dreaming their dreams, it's glorious and relentless and I read each entry three times. Then, I sit myself down, away from the pile, and realise certain poems are still inhabiting me (or I them?) like they've left a little microchip behind, a clipping of soul, to shift my world. Sometimes it's a central image, or unexpected swerve, or the ducking and weaving of the music – something remains and expands.

'Orange Blossoms' by Angeliki Ampelogianni (EAL, First Prize) plays a devastating magic trick on the reader, rolling inexorably down the page with an energy and life that makes the subject matter even more painful. 'The Seventeenth' by SK Grout (OPEN, First Prize) invites us in to a world we think we recognise – princesses, kings, impossible towers – and then, before we can protect ourselves, takes us to a deeply mysterious and personal place. I could write a whole essay... The unsettling giddiness of 'Sunday Payday' by Shaw Worth, the prickling privacy of 'Rehearsal' by Elena Croitoru, the steady rising of 'Paradise' by Katie Hale or the confident vastness of 'Hania at the End of the World', by Agata Masłowska - as well as every shortlisted poem now residing in my head.

Thank you, also, to everyone who entered the competition this year (I was struck by so many), it was an honour to spend time with them.

About the competition

The competition was open to both new and established poets aged 18 and over from across the globe and has two categories:

  • Open category (open to all poets aged 18 years and over)
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL) category (open to all poets aged 18 and over who write in English as an Additional Language.

The winners of each category receive £1000 and both runners up £200.

Our judge

We are excited to say that this year’s judge is the award-winning poet Caroline Bird

Caroline is a poet and playwright. She has published seven books of poetry with Carcanet, most recently Rookie: Selected Poems (2022). The Air Year, published in 2020, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, was shortlisted for the Polari Book Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize, and was a Book of the Year in the Telegraph, Guardian and White Review.

Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. Caroline was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.

You can find out more about Caroline’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter.
 

If you have questions about the competition, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (below). If your question isn’t answered there, contact us at: poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk

You can find out about last year’s competition and the winning poems of 2021 on this dedicated page.

About the Poetry Centre

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre is based within the School of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes University. The Centre is involved in researching and teaching poetry at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, publishes poetry pamphlets through ignitionpress, and hosts an annual programme of events for members of staff, students and the local community including conferences, workshops, exhibitions and community projects. Why not sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive news of our activities or our Weekly Poem e-mail to receive a free contemporary poem in your inbox each week?

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility

Do I have to be a UK resident to enter the competition?

No. The competition is open to anyone from around the world who is aged 18 or over at the time of entering (unless excluded under the Terms and Conditions).

Do I have to be a published poet to enter?

No. We welcome poems from unpublished writers as well.

Who’s excluded from entering?

Current OBU employees, staff (who may also be students) and contractors, their spouses/partners and current or former Competition judges.

Entries / Format

Do line spaces between stanzas in my poem count as part of the 50-line limit? What about titles, epigraphs and dedications?

Only lines of text are counted, not the lines between stanzas. Titles, epigraphs and dedications are not counted as lines.

What if I enter a poem with more than 50 lines?

Your entry will be disqualified. Please ensure you keep within the line limit.

I left my name or contact details on my entry, will it be disqualified?

Yes it will. Entries need to be anonymous.

How will you know which entries are mine if I don’t write my name on them?

All entries are logged and numbered by Poetry Centre staff so that they can be judged anonymously and matched back to your entry once the judge has made their decision.

Can I make alterations to my entries after they have been submitted?

No, alterations cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted (see our Terms and Conditions). If you want to submit a more recent version of your entry you will need to withdraw your original entry and make a fresh submission.

Are simultaneous submissions to other publishers or competitions allowed?

No.

Can I enter more than one poem?

Yes. Entrants may enter a maximum of ten poems.

Can I use a pen name?

We do allow pseudonyms although we ask that entries are made using your real name. Please let us know your pseudonym when you e-mail us your poem(s).

Must entries be unpublished?

Yes. Entries that have already been published are not eligible.

Does having a poem on my own blog count as previous publication?

Yes. It would not be eligible.

I’ve workshopped my poem in a closed group online and/or face-to-face, does this count as being published?

No. If you’ve shown your work to a closed group of other poets or writers as part of the drafting process, this does not count as being made public or published. Your poem is eligible.

Do you accept translations?

Yes. As long as it is a poem you have translated into English from your own original, unpublished work.

Do you accept poems in languages other than English?

No. Poems must be written primarily in English, though a few words or phrases in another language or languages can be included.

Can I send the same poem that I entered and was unplaced in last year’s competition?

Yes.

Prizes

What are the categories and prizes?

There are two categories - Open and English as an Additional Language (EAL). Each has two cash prizes: £1,000 for the winner and £200 for the runner-up, plus a non-cash Special Commendation in each category.

How will the cash prizes be paid?

Prize winners will be paid directly into the same bank account from which the fee for the entry was originally paid.

Entering online

How do I enter?

Entry is a two stage process:

  1. Register and pay for your entries via the Oxford Brookes Online Shop.
  2. Mark your entries either EAL or OPEN in the top right-hand corner of each entry.
    Please then e-mail them, one poem per file, as Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF (.pdf) files to poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk. You may attach several poems to your e-mail, but please ensure that they are in separate files.

I’m a poet whose first language isn’t English (EAL). How do I enter?

Poems by EAL poets can be entered for consideration either in the EAL or the Open category. All entrants need to include either EAL or OPEN in the top right-hand corner of each entry.

How can I check that you received my entries?

You will receive two automatic messages: one from the online shop when you pay for your entry, and one from the competition e-mail confirming your submission when you e-mail us your poem/s.

Will you return my entries after judging?

No, entries are not returned. Make sure you keep a copy.

Payment

How much does it cost to enter?

The first three poems submitted cost £5 per poem. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £4 per poem up to a maximum of ten poems.

How many poems can I enter?

You may enter a maximum of ten poems.

I am entering from overseas. How can I pay the entry fee?

Payments must be made using the Oxford Brookes Online Shop using Visa/Mastercard Credit/Debit cards only. Confirmation of payment will be by automatic email reply.

Can I pay with cash or PayPal?

No. Entry is by card payment through our online shop only.

Judging and the awards event

When will the competition winners be announced?

Prizewinners and shortlistees will be notified in November 2022 and invited to an award ceremony at a date TBC. The event is likely to be online. Please check the website in November for the list of winners. We will email all entrants when the results are announced.

Will the judge comment on my work?

No, the judge is unable to comment on individual entries, other than a short report on the winning poems.

Will Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre pay for me to attend the awards event?

Unfortunately, we are unable to pay for poets to attend the event. However, if you are one of the winning or shortlisted poets and invited to attend but cannot do so, we may ask you to film yourself reading your poem and screen that video at the awards ceremony.

Can Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre provide me with a certificate of participation?

We regret that we are unable to provide certificates unless you are one of the winning poets.

Data

Do you pass on my personal details to anyone else?

In accordance with the 2018 GDPR regulations, your details will be held on a secure database and will not be released to any third party without your explicit and written consent.



If you have agreed to let us do so through the questionnaire we provide when you enter the competition, we may contact you by e-mail once or twice a year with details of the next year’s competition and any other relevant information that may be of interest to you.

Copyright

Does copyright remain with me?

The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author but prize-winning and shortlisted entrants grant OBU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence for the duration of the Competition (which is deemed to end on 1 June 2023), and for ongoing publicity purposes.

Assistance

Who can I contact for further help?

For all queries, please email the Competition’s e-mail account: poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk     

Terms and Conditions

General


  1. The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2022 (the “Competition”) is organised by the Poetry Centre of Oxford Brookes University (“OBU”).
  2. The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time of entering unless excluded by these Rules. By entering the Competition, you confirm that you understand and agree to accept these Rules.
  3. International entries are welcome.
  4. You do not have to be a published poet to enter.
  5. The closing date of the competition is 23:00 BST/22:00 GMT on Wednesday 31 August 2022. The competition opens for entries at 01:00 (UK time) Monday 30 May 2022.
  6. There are two categories in the Competition i) Open and ii) English as an Additional Language (EAL). To be eligible for the EAL category entrants must confirm that English is not their first language when they pay their entry fee online.
  7. A single entrant can enter a maximum of ten poems.
  8. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  9. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered. If entrants wish to correct errors in their poem, they must withdraw it from the Competition and enter again with payment of entry fee. No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.
  10. Current direct or indirect OBU employees and staff (who may also be students) and their spouses/partners are not eligible to enter; neither are any current or former Competition judges.
  11. OBU cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition.
  12. OBU reserves the right both to cancel the Competition and to amend these Rules where it is deemed necessary, or to account for circumstances beyond OBU’s control. Any notice of cancellation or changes to the Rules will be posted on the Poetry Centre website.
  13. In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of OBU shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.
  14. Entries not complying with the Competition Rules will be disqualified, as will entrants in breach of the Rules.
  15. Entrants must not approach or attempt to influence any judge or member of OBU staff over Competition matters.
  16. The Competition Rules will be governed by English law and any dispute will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.


Poems

  1. All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself. However, you must give your real name as part of your submission, even if you prefer that your work is published under a pseudonym.
  2. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 50 lines in length (excluding title).
  3. Entries can be on any subject.
  4. Poems must be the original work of the entrant.
  5. Entries must not have been published in print, on websites, public areas of social networking sites, broadcast, have featured among the winners of another competition or be submitted elsewhere for consideration.
  6. Poems must be written primarily in English, though a few words or phrases in another language or languages can be included.
  7. Entrants may submit poems translated into English providing the source text is their own original work and has not been published in print, on websites, public areas of social networking sites, broadcast, featured among the winners of another competition or be submitted elsewhere for consideration.

Entry


  1. All entries must be submitted to the Competition’s e-mail account poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk
  2. Entries must comprise one poem per file and be submitted as a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx) or as a PDF file (.pdf).
  3. Poems by EAL poets can be entered for consideration either in the EAL or the Open category. All entrants need to include either EAL or OPEN in the top right-hand corner of each entry.
  4. Entries must be submitted to the Competition email account and open in a clear, legible font of a size that is easy to read.
  5. Confirmation of receipt of all Competition entries will be by an automated e-mail reply.
  6. You may withdraw your entry by email notification to poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk. However, unless the Competition is cancelled, entry fees will not be refunded unless you withdraw your entry by sending a notice of cancellation to Oxford Brookes University’s Poetry Centre (for this purpose please use poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk) within 14 days of the entry’s submission, in which case the submission fee will be refunded to the same bank account from which the fee was originally paid. If you have submitted more than one poem, please ensure that you identify clearly which poem is being withdrawn. OBU reserves the right to withdraw and not publish any entry which it considers to be plagiarized, defamatory or otherwise prejudicial to the reputation of OBU, its funders or its community. 


Fees


  1. The first three poems submitted cost £5 per poem. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £4 per poem up to a maximum of ten poems.
  2. All payments must be made via the International Poetry Competition shop website (https://shop.brookes.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-humanities-social-sciences/events/events/oxford-brookes-international-poetry-competition-2022) using Visa/Mastercard Credit/Debit cards only. Confirmation of payment will be by automatic email reply.


Prizes

  1. Prizes are subject to point 5 below. The winner of the Open category will receive a prize of £1,000. The winner of the EAL category will receive a prize of £1,000. The runner-up (second-placed poem) in the Open category will receive a prize of £200. The runner-up (second-placed poem) in the EAL category will receive a prize of £200. There will be one Special Commendation non-cash prize in the Open Category and one Special Commendation non-cash prize in the EAL Category.
  2. Prize winners will be paid directly into the same bank account from which the fee for the entry was originally paid.
  3. No poet may win more than one cash prize.
  4. OBU reserves the right, in conjunction with the Competition judge, not to award the prizes, or to reduce or split the prize money if, in their opinion, such action is justified for any reason.
  5. The prize money is generated entirely through entry fees and may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries is received.

Winners


  1. Prize-winners and shortlistees will be notified in November 2022 and invited to an award ceremony, physical or virtual, on a date to be given in the notification and publicly announced on the Poetry Competition website: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/research/units/hss/centres/poetry-centre/international-poetry-competition/#


Copyright


  1. Prizewinning and Special Commendation pieces will appear in electronic format on the OBU website and may be printed in publications and journals hosted by OBU or in other electronic forms. Shortlisted poems will be listed by author name and title on the OBU website. The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author but prize-winning and shortlisted entrants grant OBU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition (which is deemed to end on 1 June 2023), and for publicity purposes (including in print and electronic publications and in translation) thereafter.
  2. Entrants not selected for prizes or shortlisted are free to submit poems entered into the Competition for consideration elsewhere (i.e. to other competitions or for publication) after the winners are announced in November 2022.