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Poetry & Politics competition

March 1, 2016

By Holland Park Press

This competition closed on 31 August 2016

The Task

The theme of this poetry competition is poetry and politics, so in order to enter your poem it must be about any aspect of politics. Your poem can be about international politics or instead be about something political much more closer to home.

So, you can express a vision on world politics, or indeed about a decision made by your local council. For example, you can address politics and religion, or the political aspects of war. The poem can be about civil liberties or threats against them, about social injustices, or even about the politics of the use of certain words or language. The opportunities of 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 a few examples:

From the poem The City Planners by Margaret Atwood:

That is where the City Planners
with the insane faces of political conspirators
are scattered over unsurveyed
territories, concealed from each other,
each in his own private blizzard;

From the poem Oysterity by Sean O’Brien:

Blah about the big society
And what we should give back –
The matter just kept coming up
All evening at the table:
A lot to swallow while we spoke
Of national austerity,

From The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats, written just after the First World War:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Or remind yourself of Howl by Allen Ginsberg which begins with this line:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

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 March and the competition closes on 31 August 2016 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: ddmmyy_firstnamesurname_pp.doc or .pdf, where ddmmyy is the date on which you send the email, first name and surname form your name.
  • Poetry & Politics 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

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