Poetry Competitions

Ver Poets Open Competition 2022

Adjudicator – John McCullough





Winning and selected poems will be published in the competition anthology.

To download an entry form to enter by post, click here: Open Entry Form.

If entering by email, please write your contact details and the titles of all poems in the body of the email and attach poems as a word document. Please use Open Entry as your subject line. Email to: terryjones49@googlemail.com.

You may also pay a membership subscription for Ver Poets along with your entry. For information about the benefits of membership, see Membership.

photo by Stephen Wells

John McCulloughJohn McCullough lives in Hove. His third book of poems Reckless Paper Birds (Penned in the Margins, 2019) won the Hawthornden Prize and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. Head Judge for the Hawthornden, Christopher Reid, said ‘The vitality of the poems, their nimbleness, their wit and their music combine to mark Reckless Paper Birds as a rare literary phenomenon. The book, for all its undercurrents and complexities, is a frank and militant declaration of joy – gay in a double sense of the word – and should be taken very seriously.’

John’s previous collections have been Books of the Year for publications including The Guardian and The Independent, and he also won the Polari First Book Prize. Most recently, his poem ‘Flower of Sulphur’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. He teaches creative writing at the University of Brighton and for organizations including the Arvon Foundation. His fourth collection, Panic Response will be published in spring 2022 with Penned in the Margins.


The Ver Poets Open Competition is for poems on any theme and in any form. It is open to anybody aged 16 or over. There is no initial sifting process and John McCullough will receive all entries. His decision is final.

To be eligible for the competition, poems must be no more than 30 lines in length. Each poem should be typed clearly, in English, on one side only of A4: one poem only per sheet, TWO COPIES OF EACH POEM please if entering by post.

Competitors’ names and addresses must not appear anywhere on the poems. Please write your contact details and the titles of all poems clearly on the entry form, or in the body of the email if entering by post.

Competitors may submit any number of poems for a fee of £4.00 per poem, 3 poems for £10, £3 per poem thereafter. Payments may be made by bank transfer (Ver Poets: 40-40-01  82410419, International Bank Account Number: GB04HBUK40400182410419, Branch Identifier Code: HBUKGB4110W) or cheques/postal orders (sterling only). It is not advisable to send cash in the post.

Entries must be received no later than April 30th 2022.

Poems must be the original work of the competitor. They should not have been published, or accepted for publication, in print or online. They should not have won prizes in other competitions, be simultaneously entered for other competitions or be translations of other poets’ work. No competitor may win more than one prize.

The copyright of all poems selected for the anthology will remain with the author but we reserve the right to publish the prizewinning poems on our website and in our newsletter. Copies of the competition anthology, The Ver Prize 2022, may be ordered by including a payment of £4 per copy plus £1 post and packaging. Selected and prizewinning poets will be informed by post in June and invited to read at a prize giving event.

Results will be posted on our website, http://www.verpoets.co.uk, in July.

A donation will be made from the proceeds to Emmaus Hertfordshire which supports people to work their way out of homelessness

Please send entries to:

Competitions Secretary
23 Nightingale Walk

Email: terryjones49@googlemail.com

For the results of previous competitions, see Previous Competitions.

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