Submitting to Poetry Journals & Competitions: A Beginner’s Guide

Submitting to Poetry Journals & Competitions: A Beginner’s Guide

a dreaming skin

Chatting to writers during the recent #JanuaryWriteOff 30 Day Challenge, it became clear many people find the process of submitting to poetry journals and competitions quite daunting. From formatting to bios to fees, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through and I thought it might be useful to walk you through the process.

What Goes into a Submission?

When you’re preparing work to send out into the world, you will need to prepare a package of information comprising some, or all, of the following:

  • Your work, presented in accordance with the competition or journal’s Submission Guidelines;
  • A short writer’s bio;
  • A cover letter and/or a completed application form;
  • An author’s photo;
  • Competition or Submission fees (if applicable).

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Submission Guidelines

I’ve attended lots of workshops given by editors and publishers, and they all go something…

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Had a Poem Published in Reach Poetry


A February day was drawing in,
called by the light of silver birches
guarding the garden; their branches
whispering the wind to evergreens.

They spoke of times almost forgotten
when the Manor House ruled over
acres of farm and woodland, only
one house remains to tell the history,

as I watched the skies shadowed
the sun sapped, suddenly
a bird flew over alone; a cloud
that swept the sky with shapes.

The birds signalled to each other
the safe way home to roosts
murmuring, diving, flying in formation
until they descended, covering trees with
black bird-leafs hanging on silver branches.

Carolyn O’Connell
12 February 2018

© Published issue 285 Jan 2019

A Year of New Anthologies

Angela Topping

2019 has been a good year for new anthologies, and I am very grateful to all the editors who have selected my work to appear in their book. I have edited several anthologies myself, and I am well aware of how much work goes into them, and how time-consuming they are, from the exciting part of selection, to all the painstaking work with permissions, proof-reading, working with publishers and arranging launches.

Anthologies have changed during my writing career. At one time, they were only for the few and the famous, and were there to mark a particular fashion or press. Then Bloodaxe started their wonderful themed anthologies which are owned by anyone with a serious interest in poetry. Then there were those wonderful children’s anthologies put out by Macmillan, OUP, Wayland and others, which encouraged so many of us to write for our inner child, and which have all but…

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Poetry Collections – 2019

Poetry Collections – 2019

Something to look forward to

Burning Eye Books

We are delighted to confirm our first poetry collections for 2019. We are kicking off another vibrant year of diverse poetry representative of the UK and we’re very honoured to help these poets put work into the world. As ever, we have a bunch of debut collections for you, from experienced and fairly new poets.

In March, we have two debut collections from Bristol poet Stephen Lightbown: Only Air and Amuse Girl by Hannah Raymond-Cox.

April sees the return of Lydia Towsey with her second BE collection The English Disease.

May we have two newcomers, London poetry sensation Rachel Nwokoro will be introducing us to Little You and Bristol-grown poet and drag performer Grace Cohen will release Calling This Body Home.

June we celebrate the long career of spoken word legend and Hammer and Tongue founder Steve Larkin with OWN – Create Your Own Steve Larkin…

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