One local poetry competition close to my heart is the Poetry Please Competition 2013, which forms part of the annual Chipping Sodbury Festival (or, as my bus driver grandfather whose terminus it was nigh on half a century before the ring road was built called it, Sodding Chipbury).
Having won first prize in 2011 with my poem about Sarah Ann Henley who tried to commit suicide by jumping from Clifton Suspension Bridge, and come second last year, the compassionate organiser, Mr Stuart Nunn, realised that the only way to break my plummeting trajectory would be to ask me to judge it, so I gratefully agreed.
Anyhow, the closing date is fast approaching but there's still time to enter. A first prize of £60 will be awarded to the writer of the best poem submitted. Additional prizes of £20 and £10 may be awarded at the judge's discretion. If the quality of entries warrants it, there will be a prize of £20 for the best poem submitted from a BS37 postcode.
Here's a summary of the rules:
1. The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
2. Poems must be original, unpublished, not currently submitted elsewhere nor have won any other prize.
3. Poems should be typed or neatly handwritten and must not exceed 80 lines. Poems must be in English.
4. Entries should not identify the author in any way.
5. No entry form is required, but on a separate sheet of paper give your name, address, email address, and telephone number, with the titles of the poems submitted, mentioning where you heard about the competition.
6. Receipt of your entry to this competition will be acknowledged only if you supply a stamped self- addressed envelope marked ‘Receipt’ enclosed with the entry.
7. Do not send the original writing – only send a copy of your poem(s); as we cannot return poems after the competition nor can we be held responsible for any loss of your poems.
8. A list of winners will be displayed on the Festival website.
9. The entry fee (sterling only) is £3 per poem or £10 for five poems. Make cheque's payable to Stuart Nunn and write your name and address on the back or pay using PayPal.
10. Email entries are welcome. Please state in the body of your email your name, address, email address, names of the poems entered, transaction number of your PayPal payment. Please put your poem or poems into a single word file and attach them to your email. Ensure that there is no identifying name on your attachment or poems.
11. Closing date is 3rd May 2013, and prize winners will be notified by the 31st May 2013. Copyright remains with the authors, but the organisers reserve the right to publish the winning poems and a selection from the short list in print form or on the website.
12. We regret that we are unable to amend poems or return them after entry.
13. Winner and runners-up will be invited to read their poems at the Poetry Please event in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Friday 14th June 2013 .
14. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these conditions of entry on submission of their poems.
15. The judges will announce their decision in the press and to the winners. We cannot call everyone to report the judges’ decision.
16. The decision of the adjudicator shall be final and binding upon the participants entering this competition.
To pay via Paypal, go to the official poetry competition page on the Festival website, or post a cheque payable to Stuart Nunn, together with your entry and covering page, to Stuart Nunn, 3 Virginia Close, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol BS37 6HN.
And even if you don't enter, it would be great to see you at the Town Hall on 14th June for an evening of poems and conviviality. Don't forget to bring some along to read!