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Foreign Voices Poetry Competition

September 1, 2017

by Holland Park Press

This competition closed on 30 November 2017 at midnight GMT

We invite you to write a poem about migration

The Task

We’re inviting you to send us a poem that deals with the subject of migration

People move to another country for many reasons ranging from loving someone to fleeing from war and persecution. Are you an immigrant, emigrant, refugee, or are any of your friends, relatives or neighbours? How do you react to what you read on social media about migration? Are you involved in supporting immigrants or deal with them in an official capacity?

Poems can be triggered by any aspect of or point of view about migration and the opportunities to reflect on this theme are endless.

We don’t have to agree with your opinions, but we do want to be touched in some way by your poem, inspired by its imagery and, of course, look for a beautiful use of language.

To get you started, here are two examples:

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

— from The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus


— — —

a word emerging
mid-throat, like the ayn, in an
emigrant winter,

a word that casts blue-white flame

Nightfall. It’s heady
as the red wine they’re drinking
to hear each other’s

stories in a third language,
the bridge on which they first met.

— Marilyn Hacker in Diaspo/Renga


What is the Prize?

The author of the winning poem will receive £200.

The winning poem and runners-up will be published in our online magazine

The Judges

Publisher Bernadette Jansen op de Haar and her brother, poet and author Arnold Jansen op de Haar, will judge this competition and read all the poems.

Who can take part?

We accept poems from authors of all nationalities and based anywhere in the world provided you comply with these guidelines:

  • Your poem has to be written in English
  • Translations are not accepted
  • Poems should not exceed 50 lines
  • The poem must be the original work of the entrant
  • The poems must not have been previously awarded or published
  • You can only send in one poem per entrant
  • You have to be eighteen or over
  • You can be based in any country but your poem needs to be in English
  • You can be of any nationality but your poem needs to be in English
  • We only accept email submissions

When is the closing date?

You can send in your entries from 1 September and the competition closes on 30 November 2017 at midnight GMT.

How to submit your entry

In order to enter the competition you have to email us: We regret that we cannot process entries that do not follow the submission guidelines set out below, so please read these instructions carefully.

  • The poem must be attached as a single Microsoft Word or PDF file
  • The file has to be named as follows: date_name_fv.doc or .pdf, where date, in ddmmyy format, is the date on which you send the email, and name your name
  • Foreign Voices must appear in the subject line of the email
  • The body of the email should contain your contact details
  • Please do not add your name or contact details to the attachment that contains the poem
  • Please do not add your poem to the body of the email

Good luck! We look forward to receiving and reading your poem.