5 tips from the director

We have roughly seven weeks left in the submission period for our 2020 contests. Poems are starting to roll in nicely, and I think the time is right for some tips.

  1. Double check your line count: every contest has a line limit. Read the rules carefully to see the limit for each contest. Submissions that exceed the limits will be disqualified. The limits include blank lines, so make sure you count them.
  2. Make sure your poem is a good fit with the contest you’re submitting to: a good poem won’t win if it’s not appropriate for that particular contest. So make sure that your light verse entry is light, that your haiku entry is a haiku, that your witness entry addresses contemporary events, etc.
  3. Try a haiku, sestina, sonnet or other traditional form submission: three of our contests are for particular forms. Historically they receive fewer entries than the other contests. Your odds of winning are improved if you write and submit a good poem in these forms.
  4. You don’t have to submit everything at the same time: each of the 11 contests operates independently. You can submit one poem to each contest and you can spread your submissions out if you wish. So if you submit to some contests, then write something appropriate for a different one, send it on in.
  5. If you have a question, leave a comment: if you have a question it’s likely others share it. Pose your question as a comment in any of the blog posts and I will answer it for the benefit of all.

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