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Wordsworth said that poetry was ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’ and I wouldn’t dare argue with him but he’s not judging this competition.

…a certain slant of light… suggests more than emotion. Maybe it’s a different angle, a new interpretation, a fresh voice. They say that ‘there are no new stories, only old stories told in new ways’ and that’s what I am looking for in this competition: your slant, your new way of telling a story, of making an observation to which we can all relate.

So with that in mind, here are a few pointers.

1. Poems should be formatted in the usual way for a modern poem: single spaced, left side aligned; capital letters in keeping with the punctuation that is correct for the flow of the poem.

2. Please keep your punctuation consistent. However you choose to punctuate, make sure it works with the words as a complement, not a constraint.

3. Poems work best when they communicate – so think about how accessible your poem is. You may have references that a reader finds obscure and if that requires lots of footnotes, it may be that the poem doesn’t quite work. Good poetry shouldn’t have to be ‘propped up’ with multiple explanations.

That said, if you are presenting a distinctive voice, a fresh perspective, a different slant of light, we welcome your poetry and look forward to your success.

Good luck!


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Click here to remind yourself of the Paragram poetry competition rules and entry details