Enter the Telegraph Poetry Competition 2021

Reading through the hundreds of entries for last year’s Telegraph Poetry Competition, it was a pleasure to see how many came from readers who said our competition had inspired them to try poetry for the first time. It is a form of creative expression open to all. I hope this year’s competition will encourage as many people to pick up a pen.

This year, we are looking for poems on the theme of “family”. In a year that began with so many families separated by lockdown, we are sure to receive many poems about separation and reunion. But do not hesitate to look beyond the present moment. What are your earliest memories of your own family? What advice would you give your great-great-great-grandchildren, if you could?

Poems can be emailed to [email protected], or posted to Poetry Desk, Telegraph Media Group, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT. The winner will be published in The Daily Telegraph in January (see full terms and conditions below).

My advice for writing a winning entry? Read as much as possible. You can start in these pages: The Daily Telegraph is proud to print poems every week, which you can read in our Saturday Review supplement and our e-mail Culture Newsletter.

A great musician is always a lover of music, and the same goes for poets and poetry. So read widely for inspiration. Revisit Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his cottage, scribbling “Frost at Midnight” as his “cradled baby sleeps peacefully” by his side. Read Fiona Benson’s stunning “Ruins”, dedicated to her “beyond reason/dark-eyed darling daughter” in Vertigo and Ghost, Don Paterson’s beautiful poems for his sons in Rain, or The Republic of de Liz Berry. Maternity.

Think about how our relationships with our families change over time; how age can bring a second childhood. Seamus Heaney’s “Follower” begins with the young poet stumbling in the “studded wake” of his plow-driving father; in the end, years later, it’s the old “father who keeps stumbling. / Behind me, and won’t go”.

Two recent books – Amnion by Stephanie Sy-Quia and Forty Names by Parwana Fayyaz – tell the fascinating stories of poets’ extended families around the world, in Afghanistan in Fayyaz’s case, and everywhere from Munich to Manila in Sy- Who has. But a great poem can show even the most ordinary experience in a new light. Sylvia Plath’s poem “You’re” transforms the familiar image of an unborn child in its mother’s womb through a series of extraordinary metaphors: “Oh skyscraper, my bun”; “Curved-back Atlas, our traveled shrimp”.

Finally, don’t feel like you have to stick too much to the facts. Take inspiration from the wonderfully unpredictable book by Michael Donaghy. His “The Excuse” begins by pulling the rug out from under the reader’s feet: “My father’s sudden death shocked us all,” he wrote, “Even me, and I just made it up.” His poem “The Brother” is about “the brother I never had”, while the “little mother” in his poem “Touch” is a prehistoric cave dweller – the family of mankind, in the sense the largest.

2021 Telegraph Poetry Contest Terms and Conditions

1. This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland aged 18 and over, excluding employees of Telegraph Media Group Limited and its group companies (“Promoter”), their agents or any other person. professionally associated with the competition.

2. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. Submission of an entry will be deemed to signify acceptance of these terms and conditions.

3. To enter this contest, entrants must submit a family-themed poem. The poem must be in English and not exceed 40 lines.

There are two ways to enter this competition:

Entrants can email their contact details and poem (PDF or Word documents only) to [email protected] OR: Entrants can send their entry to: Poetry Desk, Telegraph Media Group, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT. The participant must include his name and telephone number.

Access is limited to one per person. Once submitted, Sponsor cannot accept any changes to any part of an entry.

4. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 17, 2021.

5. All entries submitted must be the work of the person submitting them and must not have been published elsewhere or won a prize in any other competition. It is each entrant’s responsibility to ensure that their entry does not infringe any third party’s copyright or any law.

6. Copyright in all entries submitted for this contest belongs to the respective entrants. However, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable and perpetual license to Telegraph Media Group Limited to feature any or all of the entries submitted in any of their publications, websites and/or in any promotional material relating to this competition. Entrants will not receive a discount for such publication, although their work will be credited.

7. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission or posting will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Entries must not be sent through agencies or third parties.

8. The winning entry will be judged according to the following criteria:

Imagination, Originality, Flair.

9. The jury will include:

Tristram Fane Saunders – poetry critic at Telegraph Culture and Lucy Denyer – associate editor at Telegraph Magazine

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. No comments can be provided for submitted poems, and unsuccessful entries will not receive a response.

10. Prize: The winning entrant’s poem will be published in the Daily Telegraph on Friday 21st January 2022.

The four finalists will have their poems published on The Telegraph poetry channel: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/poetry/ on January 21, 2022.

11. Winner and runners-up will be notified no later than January 17, 2022. If Sponsor is unable to contact winners or if winners are unable to accept the prize, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to another entrant who, in the opinion of the judges and in accordance with these terms and conditions, is the second best entry.

12. Winner and runners-up may be required to participate in publicity on behalf of Sponsor.

13. Entrant data will be used for the purposes of administering this competition and in accordance with any permissions granted or denied at the point of entry.

14. The names and counties of the winner and runners-up can be obtained by message to Telegraph Poetry Competition 2021, Poetry Desk, Telegraph Media Group, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT within one month of the date of close of competition.

15. Prices as described are available at the date of publication. If the Sponsor is unable to publish the winner’s poem on the date indicated, the poem will be published on another date.

16. Events may occur which render the competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible for reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and, therefore, the Promoter may, at its sole discretion, modify or modify the promotion and entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to Promoter as a result.

17. These Terms and Conditions shall be interpreted in accordance with English law and any dispute arising out of these Terms or their subject matter shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Promoter Telegraph Media Group Limited, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT.

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