Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition

 Full details 

Open now until June 30th

Welcome. We’re delighted to announce the 26th annual Ware Poets competition, open to all. Since 1998 we have been committed to offering poets an opportunity for your way with words to resonate with our judge and win a prize. The competition also offers the chance for your work to reach a wider public by being featured in our anthology, which includes all winning and commended poems. Each year, our judge provides an expert assessment and offers critical feedback in an introduction to the anthology.

The competition has become well known and well regarded. It has attracted judges with a high profile in the poetry world, and poems from poets both established and previously unknown have been included in the anthologies. Entries are received from throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Winning poems are entered for the Forward Prize.

Some copies of previous competition anthologies are still available: please contact the competition secretary for details.

2023 competition results


1st prize  £600

2nd prize £300

3rd prize £150

plus The Ware Sonnet Prize of £150 awarded for the best sonnet submitted

2024 Adjudicator

Our adjudicator for the 2024 competition is Paul Stephenson.


Paul is himself a regular prizewinner in competitions. He has published three pamphlets: Those People (Smith/Doorstop, 2015), which won the Poetry Business pamphlet competition; The Days that Followed Paris (HappenStance, 2016), written after the November 2015 terrorist attacks; and Selfie with Waterlilies (Paper Swans Press, 2017). His debut full collection Hard Drive was published by Carcanet in June 2023. In 2013/14 he took part in the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme and the Aldeburgh Eight, before completing an MA in Creative Writing with the Manchester Writing School.

He currently helps curate Poetry in Aldeburgh. He is a university teacher and researcher, and lives between Cambridge and Brussels.

Previous judges

Sophie Hannah

Ken Smith

Anne-Marie Fyfe

Michael Laskey

Mimi Khalvati

Martyn Crucefix

Judi Benson

George Szirtes

Tamar Yoseloff

John Mole

Pat Borthwick

Robert Seatter

Carole Satyamurti

Dean Parkin

Susan Utting

Roddy Lumsden

Carrie Etter

Philip Gross

Hannah Lowe

John Greening



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