Poetry Prize – Bloomsbury and the National Literacy Trust

Poetry Prize 2015 From Bloomsbury Publishing and the National Literacy Trust.

Write a short poem about reading and books and it could be used to inspire children across the country!  All forms of poetry are accepted, from sonnets to free verse to rap. Send us your poems inspired by reading and literature, and one of them could feature in a poster campaign in schools across the UK.

The prize also includes:

A brand new iPad

£250 of Bloomsbury titles

A framed copy of the finished poster featuring your poem Exclusive celebration event to reveal the prize-winner

Two runners-up will also be chosen, and all short-listed poets will be invited to the celebration event.

Submit your poetry by midnight on 31 August 2015 for your chance to win. Please note this competition is open to all aged 16+.

100% of entry fees go towards the work of the National Literacy Trust empowering children and young people by giving them the skills they need to succeed.


Festival Event: Ovid’s Heroines

pollardA Poetry Performance by Claire Pollard

23rd March, 8pm, Quad South Hall, York St John University

‘Ovid’s Heroides, written in Rome some time around 20BC, is a series of poems in the voices of women from Greek and Roman myth. Fifteen women – including Dido, Medea, Penelope and Ariadne – address the men they love. Poet Clare Pollard’s new free verse translation (published by Bloodaxe Books) rediscovers Ovid’s Heroines for the 21st Century, bringing to life a cast of women who are brave, bitchy, sexy, horrifying, heartbreaking and surprisingly modern.

Jaybird Live Literature brings the Heroines to the stage in a new live literature production. Clare reads, recites and performs her astonishing poems against a backdrop of Mediterranean light, and heartbreaking sound. Love letters fly back and forth between the ancient world and modern Britain – the messages of longing, suffering and beauty they bear are universal and timeless.’

Free – Book here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ovids-heroines-tickets-14371967943

Say Owt Poetry Slam!

SAY OWT SLAM returns after the success of SOS 101 back in October 2014.

15 poets will have 3 minutes each to wow the audience, with the best poet receiving £30 cash prize and bragging rights.  The night will be a fun and frantic display of spoken word and performance poetry.

“I went with high expectations, and was not disappointed”- Nouse

“[an] exciting evening of lively and thought-provoking entertainment” – One & other

“I can’t remember the last time I got so much entertainment out of a fiver”- audience member

Guest poet at the event is SOPHIA WALKER, a globe-trotting poet who has won the London Poetry Olympics in 2012, was the BBC Slam Champ in 2013 and won the Best Spoken Word Show at Edfringe 2014.

23rd Janurary, £5, 7.30, The Basement, City Screen, Coney Street, tickets available here:  http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/York_Picturehouse/film/Basement_Say_Owt_Slam_2/

Sophia will also be running a writing and performing workshop at the Golden Ball 5-7pm, tickets a mere £5, details here:  http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-performance-workshop-with-sophia-walker-tickets-15077291585

More details can be found here:  http://henryrabypunkpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/say-owt-slam-2.html

Facebook event:


Manchester Writing Prizes

Win £10,000 for your poems or stories!

Visit the site for details: http://www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk/index.php

Manchester Writing Competition

The Manchester Writing Competitmanchesterion was established by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in 2008, funded in the first instance by the Manchester Metropolitan University’s innovative Enterprise Fellowship scheme. The project was designed to attract the best new writing from around the world, and to establish Manchester as the focal point for a major literary award. Since it began, the Competition has awarded more than £75,000 to its winners.

Words & Whippets

Words & Whippets poetry evening

Wednesday May 28th, 7.45pm, York Theatre Royal Studio Digital StillCamera

In 2013 Words & Whippets poetry night debuted with a SELL-OUT show packed full of spectacular spoken word acts.  Returning for 2014, Words & Whippets 2 presents a showcase of Yorkshire’s finest performance poets, compered by York’s own punk poet HENRY RABY.

Tickets from the YTR Box office, over the phone 01904 623 568 or here:  www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/shows/Words_Whippets.php#.U2Uu2fldXPp


  • Leeds-based leading lady LIZI PATCH, theatre-maker & playwright
  • GENEVIÈVE L. WALSH, scary fairy host of Halifax’s Spoken Weird night
  • CHRIS SINGLETON, the King of Crowd-Versing and Imperator of Improvised Poetry
  • And the reliable return of York’s ROB AUTON!:

Rob won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. A hilarious stand-up poet, Rob’s poetry is also touching, surreal and magical. Rob will perform his uplifting and acclaimed hour-long solo masterpiece, THE SKY SHOW, which has wowed and wooed audiences across the country.

“Charming, eccentric & uplifting, Auton is a talent to watch”- The Independent
“If performance poetry is the new rock n roll, Mr Auton is Jarvis Cocker circa 1995.” – Broadway Baby

Facebook event here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1481839042046816/?fref=ts

Go York Astronomy and Poetry Lecture

13th May, Fountains Lecture Theatre, York St John University, 6.30pm

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is one of the country’s leading astronomers and a champion of women astronomyin science. As a graduate student she discovered pulsars, opening up a new branch of astrophysics. As a hobby she collects poetry about astronomy and space

Astronomy is a fast moving subject, with new discoveries rolling in regularly. How have poets responded to these discoveries? What topics have caught their attention and what have they not written about? Are they pro-science or anti?  A number of the poems will be read by local volunteers following an introduction to the relevant science.

Book here: Poetry and Astronomy Event Brite Ticket


Friday Feature: Writer’s block or Blank Page Syndrome

The most frustrating object for a writer is, unfortunately, also the essential object required to write, the blank page. Every writer has
experienced that moment when, after finally managing to take some time out of your
busy schedule, you sit down with a nice cup of tea, a few cheeky biscuits and
…nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!

nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!NothingnoTHING NOThing NOT A THING nothing No-THINg NothinG nothing nothING.

After a while writing about how you simply CANNOT write begins to get rather boring….

So, here is a collection of tips and tricks from myself and other YSJ writers to get the ideas streaming and your inspiration flowing:

1.Keep a journal to write down all your ideas for projects. It doesn’t have to be special, use a diary, a pad of paper, or just your laptop. Personally I use all the different forms or I get bored. It will stop you forgetting ideas and you might come back to them later finding that they trigger some inspiration. Aim to write something in it every day.

2.Use Creative writing prompts. This blog has a new prompt up every Monday, use them to access your imagination, allow yourself to experiment and have fun!

3. Don’t feel your work has to be amazing all the time. Sometimes you will end up with a load of rubbish…it happens. To me, it happens, A LOT! Don’t worry, persevere, keep writing and eventually the dry spell will end.

4.Listen to Music. Do this while you are writing and reflect on how it changes the final outcome.

5. Freewrite. Freewriting is an exercise in which you write whatever pops into your head. Do not edit or erase anything, just write continuously for a certain amount of time. It is difficult, but some of my best ideas have come out through a freewrite.

6. STOP MAKING EXCUSES. I am the biggest procrastinator in the world when it comes to writing. I will do my washing and ironing and clean the kitchen before even sitting down to write (I end up with a very tidy house), but it is the most unhelpful thing you can possibly do. By avoiding writing the task becomes bigger. You feel guilty. You avoid it again. You feel guilty and before you know it you can’t even look at a page without wanting to stick you head under the covers and hibernate through university life. I have tried this method… unfortunately the time comes when you have to poke your head out and leave behind your shell, even if that means coming up with a REALLY bad metaphorical imagery…

7. Observe: listen to conversations around you, watch and read the news, make notes on your surroundings, and most importantly LIVE. Go to places you haven’t been before and get yourself out there. Writing is an active not a passive process, your life should be too.

8. Get into a group. The Creative Writing Society is advertised below, or just get involved with your friends. Write for each other, or set goals. Meet up in the SU over a beer or, if you are not ready to share your work with the world just yet, set up a blog where strangers can read your work.

9. Research: Google is AMAZING! If you are interested in something, follow the theme and see if you follow it to an idea. If not at least you’ve learnt something new!

10. Read. If you’re stuck for ideas read a novel, a magazine article, poetry or even the news can be your opening into inspirational muse. Why not to replicate the tone in what you’re reading?

TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: Writing is all about practice. Why not try going through the list above and doing one point every day, even if it’s ten minutes in the library or on your work break. For added incentive, promise yourself a drink at the end of the ten days…or maybe even more than one…