Why should you enter a poetry contest?

If you’re answer is “to win a prize,” you may be selling the experience short.

Winning a prize is great but if you want to get the maximum benefit out of entering a contest, ask yourself how it can enhance your writing. Consider these five approaches:

  1. Finish new work. If your writing hasn’t been as productive as you’d like, choose a contest and commit to submitting a new poem. Nothing inspires quite like a deadline.
  2. Expand your writing to new areas. If you want to re-energize your writing, choose a contest that’s outside your comfort zone. Creativity thrives on challenge.
  3. Read more poetry. Have you been feeding your muse lately? None of us write in a vacuum and knowledge of what our contemporaries are up to is essential to writing substantial work. When entering contests make it a point to read poems by the former winners and the current judges.
  4. Ask for a critique. When was the last time you sought feedback for your work? Before you submit to your next contest, ask someone you trust and respect to critique your entry. You’ll get meaningful interaction with another human being, and maybe some improvements to your poetry.
  5. Dig up some old work and breathe new life into it. Most contests allow for simultaneous submissions, but that doesn’t mean you have to send the same handful of poems to every contest. Why not take the opportunity to revisit and revise some work from your past? Poems that have lain dormant for a few years can sparkle when they are lovingly reworked.

Expand your view of contest entering further with these two links:

Published by Craig Kittner

The Adult Contests Director for the North Carolina Poetry Society, Craig has lived in a lot of places. Providence, RI saw the start of interesting things that DC helped solidify. He's worked a lot of jobs, too. Dealing blackjack was an interesting challenge. Now he lives kind-of-near the sea and makes his living through communication. But don't we all. Recent publications include Rabid Oak, Bones, and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: