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Poets & other Writers; lend me your lugs...!

(14 Posts)
LittlePushka Tue 28-Dec-10 20:30:42

Please would you give me your advice on writing competitions. I have written many poems over the last few years though none have ever been published or even shared. I think that my writing has improved the more poetry I write (and read). Anyway I visited the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh just before Christmas ( brilliant, the way!) and seen posters for poetry competitions - one of which is local.

Is this a good way of airing your wares? Has anybody tried this? Would you recommend another way of guaging whether your work would be enjoyed by a wider audience of folk who like poetry?

BelleDeChocChipCookieMonster Tue 28-Dec-10 23:31:33

I think you should give it a go. What have you got to lose? Best of luck. smile

jonicomelately Tue 28-Dec-10 23:33:16

These types of competitions are a huge way of showcasing poetry.

LittlePushka Tue 28-Dec-10 23:44:40

Thank you team,... I will do! One day I shall place you in my first acknowledgments smile. Will post in the summer if i am commended!

jonicomelately Tue 28-Dec-10 23:59:32

We expect nothing less of you LittlePushka.

Good luck x

Punkatheart Wed 29-Dec-10 16:24:57

There is very little money in publishing poetry and it is a tough market. Competitions would be an excellent way of both honing your skills and also earning some prizes. Not to mention giving you a high profile.

Read read read as much poetry as you can. Take a look at poetry websites such as Ink, Sweat and Tears. If you really want to read wonderful poetry that uses language masterfully - try Dylan Thomas or Seamus Heaney.

..good luck..hope you do well!

LittlePushka Wed 29-Dec-10 21:27:56

thank you punkatheart! The money side of the business genuinely had not crossed my mind. I just love to write poetry! Mercifully I have gainful employment!

I also have loved reading it since an ancient English teacher flicked on a wonderment switch in my head when he took our class through "A choice of Poets"(and other great literature) as part of our "O" Level thirty odd years ago. I have owed him a massive debt ever since.

I will check out the website you kindly recommended and thank you again for your post - you are also to be acknowledged in due coursewink

Punkatheart Thu 30-Dec-10 00:09:12

Not interested in money? Truly a proper poet.


artifarti Thu 30-Dec-10 11:54:01

You might want to look at Mslexia magazine, a writing magazine for women. They publish poetry and have an annual poetry competition, as well as lots of features about writing/writers. It's a really nice read. Some stuff on their website

(Just read that back and it sounds like I work for them! I don't, honest, just a happy subsciber. smile)

Punkatheart Thu 30-Dec-10 14:40:03

I had just come on to add in about has a competition listing too in the back. I have had a short story published in the felt like a great achievement. No, I don't work for them either but I am a fan....very inspiring magazine.

Grumpla Thu 30-Dec-10 15:02:49

BEWARE of the poetry anthology "competitions" that are in fact thinly disguised vanity publishing scams e.g. you pay them £50 to enter their competition, everyone who enters "wins" and you then have to pay another £20 per copy of the (crappy) anthology to read your poem in print. With a hundred "winners", by the time proud DH, gran, gran's neighbour and Auntie Doris have all bought a copy they are making a tidy sum.

Having said that, most reputable poetry competitions will still charge an entrance fee (to cover their costs, admin, pay the sleb judges, cover prizes). If you win one of those it could be very useful to you in terms of getting other stuff published, but without wishing to sound discouraging if you have not shown or shared your work with anyone else before this might not be the best way of sending your babies out into the world - rejection letters are not great for the soul!

From your post it seems like maybe you might benefit from the sort of feedback you could get from a local writers group more than from entering lots of different competitions. Depending on where you live, there might be some poetry open mic sessions where you could even gulp read some of your work? Adult ed classes? I really think that getting detailed feedback from other writers and readers can be crucial to improve your editing skills and really polish your work so it is the best it can be. Often another pair of eyes can see the really glaring flaws that you have overlooked!

There are lots of great poetry magazines out there, your local library should have a couple of subscriptions so you could have a look, maybe subscribe to a few yourself if you have not already?

Punkatheart Thu 30-Dec-10 17:32:14

Very good advice about the thinly disguised self-publishing scams.

Agree in part about getting your work peer-reviewed but a word of warning, particularly for the novice writer. You have to be ready, prepared and slightly thick-skinned to begin this process. I am now at the stage of editing and being editing by writer colleagues. I can take criticism....but it does take time to adjust. Joining a friendly writing group at first might help to break the ice, as well as get practice in reading out your work....

TheMonster Thu 30-Dec-10 17:41:04

I remember 'A Choice of Poets'. It had a light blue cover, didn't it?

LittlePushka Thu 30-Dec-10 23:29:51

Yes, it did, with a girl on Waterloo (presumably) Bridge! I pinched mine from school so taken was I with it!!! I still read it now and often smile at my random pencilled comments. I read some of those great poems but always I hear my superb teacher's voice(es)!

These are great posts - truly helpful. Off to check out Myslexia.Thanks for the scam tip - the competition I am thinking of is Local Authority backed and it only costs £3 per poem, so that sounds ok to me.

Also am very thick skinned and not precious at all about taking advice/criticism. Not shared anything with anyone just because its not an interest any of my family or friends share. But I rather like the thought of joining a writing group,...

Thanks again, have been so helpful and encouraging.grin

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