Writing Contest: Poetry

 Contest closed now. Look for the announcement of our winners soon and for details on our next contest.

October 1, 2014 was the 12th anniversary of Writing It Real! We are happy to have helped so many writer’s fulfill their dreams of writing. We continue our celebration by announcing our next writing contest–one for poets that includes a play on “12”. For each entry, send us one to three poems that somehow include the number 12: a dozen of anything, a calendar day, months in a year, jurors, age 12 at which something happened for you, 12 days of Christmas, high noon, setting a compass by the sun–whatever 12 means as inspiration for you or occurs in the occasion upon which you are writing. You can use the number in a title, in the poem, or as an organizing strategy for the poem. Send in some work! We’ve dropped the reading fee $3 so we can say $12– and that $12 reading fee is worth the responses.

Prizes for three winners are the choice of free tuition for a Writing It Real online class or an hour’s consulting time on up to three poems–each of those services cost $12 times $10! As usual, Sheila will read your entry and give you response you might want to use in revising and resubmitting before the final deadline for judging by a guest judge to be announced soon.

Not a poet? Try your hand at writing one or two or three and you’ll be surprised — with Sheila’s responses you may find you are in fact interested in the genre.

 “Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.” — James Tate

Our Contest Goes Like this:

  1. Submit your entry of 1 to 3 poems
  2. Receive Sheila’s comments
  3. Revise your entry (if you’d like to)
  4. Submit revision for guest judge BY THE NEW EXTENDED DEADLINE OF May 15, 2015; otherwise, we will use the original of the poem you entered.

At Writing It Real, we believe the writing is in the revising. In that spirit our contests are about receiving detailed response to a draft and having our entrants send revisions in for consideration by a guest judge, who chooses three place winners. Our guest judge this round will be announced soon.
So again, submit your poem and Sheila Bender will respond in detail via email within a week after receiving your entry. Then you may revise the work (revisions may exceed the initial word limit) and resubmit by the contest deadline.

The reading fee of $12 entitles the entrant to detailed response and a chance to win editing time or a class with Sheila. There is no additional reading fee for the re-entry. If entrants do not submit a revision, their original entry goes on to final judging.

Sheila wants everyone to be a winner, and by receiving her detailed response to your submitted writing, you get a jumpstart in making your writing sing.

Again, our guest judge chooses three winners. Each winner receives their choice of a free class or editing time. All (with the author’s permission) winning writing will be published in Writing It Real.

The sooner you enter, the more time you’ll have for revision. Please submit your writing soon.

The Logistics of How to Enter

If you are a member, log into Writing It Real and then click the Buy Now button below. You then pay your entry fee ($12) and submit your entry. If you are not a current Writing It Real member, it’s easy to join and enter the contest in one payment. You’ll receive the many benefits of belonging to Writing It Real, including being able to enter other contests during the year to receive Sheila’s response.

Our online form allows you to pay your fee via Visa or Mastercard. Your entry must be attached as a Microsoft Word or .rft document. We will not be able to read submissions that are in any other file type. NOTE: If you are unable after paying to upload your entry using the form (some browsers have been giving entrants trouble with the form) do send the entry as an attachment to email to sbender@writingitreal.com with “contest entry” in the subject line. Either way, put all the poems into one Word document. If  you want to use the form for re-entry that is good but if you are having trouble, again, use email and mark the re-entry as such in the subject line.

If you’d like to submit hard copy, mail a copy of your entry along with a check to Writing It Real, 394 Colman Drive, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Remember to include your email address.

Again, entrants receive Sheila’s detailed response within a week of receipt of the document. The detailed response is guaranteed to speed you on your way to a finished piece.

Remember, after you revise, return to the entrance form and check “revision” and your revision (remember at no extra charge) will be entered for final consideration. Again, if you don’t resubmit, your initial entry will be entered into the judging. NOTE: if the form gives you trouble, just email your re-entry as an attachment and put “contest re-entry” in the subject line.

Our contest reading fee is $12.00 for Writing It Real Members. Click the buy button below and, after making your payment, you will be sent to a page where you can upload your submission or just email it to sbender@writingitreal.com. You can send it as a .doc, .docx or an .rtf file (most word processing programs allow you to save in one or more of these formats).

Do not put your name on the submission. Your name can be in the form/email.

[DAP isPaidUser=”Y”]


[DAP isLoggedIn=”N”]If you are already a member, be sure to login now, then you’ll only pay the $12 reading fee for your contest submission.The contest fee for nonmembers is $47 and includes a $35 Lift Off level year’s membership to Writing It Real, plus the contest reading fee of $12. Please use the buy button below to join now. After you submit your payment, you will be routed to the contest submission form. You can upload it as a .doc, .docx or an .rtf file (most word processing programs allow you to save in one or more of these formats). Do not put your name on the submission. Your name and email is on the form you fill out.


If you have questions, email us. If you prefer, send your double-spaced manuscript and a check to:

Writing It Real Contest
394 Colman Drive
Port Townsend, WA 98368

If you do a paper submission, include a cover letter with your name, address, email address and phone number as well as the name of your submitted pieces. Do not put your name on the submissions themselves.

Need Some Encouragement? Here are a few famous poets on poetry:

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. — Dennis Gabor

Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. — Carl Sandburg

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. — Rita Dove

Poetry is an act of peace. — Pablo Neruda

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. — Paul Engle

Leave a Reply