If you're a talented, emerging poet and wish to get your poetry heard and read, the best way to promote yourself and gain credibility is to enter poetry competitions. Most poetry contests charge entry fees, however, there are a few poetry writing contests which are free to enter.
There's no better way to get your work heard and seen than by winning a poetry contest.
Most poetry competitions that have any kind of interesting prizes have to charge entry fees . Entry fees usually range between $7 to $50, for entering just one contest! Imagine how much that will cost you if you want to enter 10 or 20 poetry contests.
Poetry contests without entry fees usually can't give any prizes. Nonetheless, even just being able to say you are an award-winning poet is great for your bio and gives you writing credentials. If you're dreaming of getting a literary agent or publisher, you'll definitely need writing credentials.
Here are 5 poetry websites with free to enter international poetry competitions:
The NY Literary Magazine International Best Poetry Contest
The NY Literary Magazine publishes distinguished print poetry magazines featuring internationally recognized, award-winning poets and emerging poets of all ages and nationalities. The NY Literary Magazine runs free entry poetry contests for two weeks each month and accepts online poetry submissions.
Guidelines: They accept poetry in numerous genres by poets of any age and nationality.
Prizes: The winning writers get published in the NY Literary Magazine, and win a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.
Enter their poetry contest here: https://nyliterarymagazine.com/contests-for-poets-and-writers/free-to-enter-poetry-contests/
The Cheshire Prize for Literature competition
This free-to-enter poetry competition is only accepting previously unpublished, original poems or a collection of poems. Additionally, ONLY poets from Cheshire may enter this writing contest. The poet must study or have studied, work or have worked, been born, live or have lived, in Cheshire.
Prizes: The 1st place winner will be awarded £2,000. Additional prizes of £750 will be awarded and the best entries will be published.
Guidelines: Poems must be maximum 50 lines long. Contestants must be 18 years or over on September 1st, 2016.
Enter the poetry contest here: Chester.ac.uk/literatureprize
PoetSoup Poetry Contests Free Entry
PoetSoup premium members run free to enter poetry contests for their other members.Prizes: A virtual sticker.
Poetry competitions: Poetrysoup.com/poetry_contests/
FanStory Contests for Poets
FanStory is a writer's community where members run poetry contests open to other members.
Prizes: Bragging rights
List of free poetry contests here: Fanstory.com/contestsall.jsp
The Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize
This free to enter international poetry writing contest requires young writers aged 14-25 to write poetry about the work and life of a selection of Second World War poets.
Prizes: The first place winner wins £100 in book tokens. The second and third place winners win £50 in book tokens, plus a Young Poets Network notebook, and publication on Young Poets Network website. The first place winner gets published in their quarterly paper Poetry News, and the winning essay will be published on their website.
Enter this writing competition here: http://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/workshop/the-timothy-corsellis-prize-2016/
Writer's Cafe Poetry Writing Competitions 2016
Members of Writer's Cafe community often create poetry competitions and invite other members to compete. These contests are free to enter, however, there are no prizes. Additionally, since most of these member created contests have rather unexciting names it's not something great to add to your credentials or bio if you win one.If you can't win any other poetry contest, you can try your luck in Writer's Cafe and if you win a contest there you'll be able to call yourself an award-winning poet.
List of their free poetry competitions: Writerscafe.org/contests/search/
AllPoetry Free Entry Contests
AllPoetry is a large forum with 14 million poets. The members organize poetry contests (without any prizes).
Here is a list of AllPoetry contests: Allpoetry.com/contest
I wish you best of luck and hope you win a poetry competition! Keep on writing, improving, entering contests, and promoting your work. There are millions of poets in the world, you need to work hard to get your voice heard.