New poetry competition..

New competition starting now on, deadline April 20th 2014.

£2 entry fee, any form, any style, any theme, maximum of 60 lines.


Read February’s winning poem here


About poetry prizes..


100% of the prize pool goes to the poets!

​Poetry prizes was started as a more affordable alternative to other mainstream poetry competitions.

For an entrance fee of £2 you can enter any competition that is running on this site.

Prizes range from subscriptions to well known poetry magazines, publishing deals,

opportunities to read your work on the radio, to good old cash rewards.

Silent fight

wineThe breezy bush distracted us

Made her break her apple green stare

And look away to the pavement

To the beat of my feet


Crisp salad leaves crunched my wet fork

Whilst the check of the tablecloth

Engulfed the wine bottle in squares

And the metred beat froze


Time is no match for a redhead

Her red rhythm leaps like scared deer

While time ticks regular like rain

And the beat carries on


A clink of glass returns her stare

Less appley than before, more pear

Bright sunshine helps her pierce my mind

I drop the beat this time


Lover’s lunches in clockwork fights

Both restricted and protected

By fellow diners who listen

To our out of time beat



I Heard Her

The door gave way on the third kick. I wished that it hadn’t as soon as the smell hit me. The notion of what a smell is will never fully explain what entered my nostrils that day. She had been there for three days, windows shut, in the dry Sri Lankan heat.
Her position was familiar, sitting in her favourite chair, facing the television.  Her shorts and T-shirt seemed almost inappropriate for the situation. She was there, but gone.
The arc of blood up the wall behind her was brown now. A death rainbow, and at the end of it there was no pot of gold. The air was me, and I was the air. I breathed her decomposition.
I spent years thinking that she had been murdered. The Colombo murder squad hinted at the boys from the beach. They insinuated that she was a prostitute, that one thing had lead to another. She was just another victim of just another brutal robbery in a poor country. Now I’m not so sure. Something happens to you when you discover a dead body. There is an interaction, even though one of you is no longer there. She told me something that day. It has taken me a long time to hear it but I hear it now.

I hear her pain, her disappointment, her release of expectation. I hear her dreams slowly disappearing as her heart hardened.

I hear her locking the door from the inside.

Rare, please.

heartThis pounded meat

Bruise-veined and scarred

Caged in red white bone

I butcher it to feel

Scar it to remember

Untwist its bloody tendered weave

And tear it once again


Pain or perfection?

I raise a bottle to the pain.

The dull ache tightly clamps the rusty

Blunt blade of connection.

Hold fast if you like.

But the slow pull will always win.


Serrated edges create their own crimson exit

Faster now.

A dizzy agony of goodbye frees the mottled sword.

Frees me.

I remember now, how to stitch.

How to mend.

How to prepare this scarred pounded meat

For another cook.

Now the journey..

archerNow the wine

 Now the cake

  Now the journey

    through the lake.

You begged me once

 You’ll beg again

  Untie my boat

   Be home by ten.

Your darkness hides

 a bitter edge.

  Now push it off

   from the waters edge.

The boat sits low

 the weight is yours.

  Now hurry on

   and move those oars.

Now the wine 

 Now the cake

  Now the journey

   through the lake.

The dry song

 of a drawn blade.

  Not a soul 

   to lend you aid.

Lonely now 

 upon the water.

  One splash of the oar

   will be your slaughter.

Not a breath

 has passed your lips.

  You hear me now.

   A fear that grips.

Now the wine.

 Now the cake.

  Now the journey

   through the lake.

You panic now

 You splash and shriek

  I take my aim

   Your end I seek.

The arrow finds 

 its place of rest

  Gently protruding 

   from your chest.

For I am Vorse

 and judgement’s mine

  Come visit again

   my lake sometime.

Now the wine

 Now the cake

  Now the journey

   through the lake.

The Door at the End of the Corridor on the Seventh Floor

is blue. Or black, maybe.

It’s a dark colour and it opens with a knock.

Or two.

Footsteps, a pause, then the click.

That’s the order of it.

I like the pause.

I know she’s looking at me through the small lens.

Just for a second.

The well oiled brass deadbolt prepares for its surrender.


The smooth click of defeat.

Unlocked, unbolted, unnecessary.




The lock is a lock once more.

Now with two in its charge.


New Poetry Competition Website

book1223 was conceived as a means to encourage new writers and to offer a more affordable alternative to existing poetry competitions. The prize payout structure is borrowed from a traditional poker tournament, i.e. the more people who enter, the bigger the prize and the more prize winners. There is one distinct difference though; at poetry prizes the winners keep 100% of the prize pool. There is no ‘house’ fee, our reward is your poetry.


For example; if 100 writers submit their work into a £2 competition then 55% of the prize pool (in this example £110) will go to first place, 30% will go to second place (in this example £60), and 15% will go to third place (in this example £30). If 1000 writers enter their work in a £2 competition then 45% of the prize pool will go to first place (in this example £450), 25% will go to second place (in this example £250), 20% will go to third place (in this example £200), and 10% will go to fourth place (in this example £100).


See the prize structure table on the About page for specific prize allocations based on number of entrants.


​The copyright of all poetry remains the property of the writer.


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