Are you a poet but don’t know it?

Barry Coidan introduces a new poetry competition for Waltham Forest

Milton Road, part of 'Poets Corner'

Milton Road, part of ‘Poets Corner’

Poets Corner is a small group of neighbouring streets in Walthamstow named after poets such as Byron and Milton.

As well as living in Poets Corner I belong to a group called Forest Poets and have been involved in the E17 Art Trail with two poetry-themed street installations; Poets For Sale and I Wanna Tell You A Story.

Paul McGrane, who leads the group, was keen to run a poetry competition in Waltham Forest, while I was keen to do something ‘arty’. Together we came up with the Poets Corner Poetry Competition.

I’ve entered quite a few poetry competitions myself, without success. Although it would have been nice to win, just entering these competitions got me thinking about what and how I write. It also introduced me to a community of fellow writers.

Our new poetry competition celebrates Waltham Forest as London’s first Borough of Culture in 2019. The theme is ‘a bright future’ and the entries will be judged by local poet Meryl Pugh. There’ll be a prize-giving and readings of the winning and shortlisted poems at Ye Old Rose and Crown, in late October.

Paul, who works for The Poetry Society, is organising the administration of the competition. There will be three categories; national, young poets, and a local prize for those living and working in the borough.

The prizes for the national competition are £300, £200 and £100 for the top three chosen poems. For the other categories the prizes are £50, £30 and £20. There’s an entry fee of £3 for the first poem and £1 for each subsequent poem, up to a maximum of four entries, although the young poets competition for children up to age eleven is free to enter. Poems can be submitted by post or online.

With this new competition we are aiming to build on the vibrant poetry scene already in Waltham Forest. It seeks to be fun, celebratory, and attract a high standard of entries.

For more information on the Poets Corner Poetry Competition, including how to enter: