Tom Howard Poetry Contest
Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse
What is the difference between The Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse and the Tom Howard Poetry Contest for Verse in All Styles and Genres?
Virtually none, except for the fact that prose poems or storoems are not eligible for The Margaret Reid Prize. In just about all other respects, the contests are identical. And yes, you can enter the same poems (provided they are not prose poems) in BOTH contests. In theory, you could win First Prize in both contests for an identical poem, although I'd point out it would be difficult. Competition in the Tom Howard Contest is extremely fierce. We usually receive three times as many entries for Tom Howard, even though the prize purses and entrance fees for both contests are exactly the same.
Will winning and commended entries be published in print form like the anthology SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME: Award-Winning Poems that Amazon are selling?
No. We used to make it a rule that entrants allow their winning entries to be published in book form. After a great deal of pressure from some leading poets, I changed the rule. I didn't realize that once a poem is published in print, it loses its monetary value, as almost all magazines and journals insist on first publication rights. If a poem has already been published, print publishers are not interested, no matter how prestigious the prize or the poet. So we no longer offer print publication. This allows winners to sell their poems to leading journals and magazines.
Is SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME: Award-Winning Poems the same book Amazon is selling with the subtitle"Fifty Award-Winning Poems"?
Yes. The book Amazon calls SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME: Fifty Award-Winning Poems actually contains 108 poems. 108 not 50! It's a large-format book of 196 pages. Included are winning and commended entries from TWO Margaret Reid Prizes and ONE Tom Howard Poetry Contest.
What can you tell us about previous winning entries in the above anthology?
I guess everyone needs to read these poems themselves to judge their quality. All I can do is to share my feelings: Susan Keith won First Prize for "Remembrance" (poem 1 in "Sailing..."). This is a daring poem because it relates Jackie Kennedy's impressions from a first-person viewpoint. It's very difficult to compose a many-sided poem about a well-known identity, let alone tell that story in the person's "own" words, but Susan Keith has handled this remarkable feat magnificently.
The following year's Margaret Reid Prize went to Johnmichael Simon for "On the Border" (poem 88 in "Sailing..."). The poet lives in Israel, literally "on the border". However, this entry is not a political diatribe but a moving account of everyday living, contrasting present and past perils with picturesque and passionate hopes for the future.
First Prize in The Tom Howard Contest was awarded to Debbie Camelin for "Intimidation" (poem 56 in "Sailing...). This is a political poem, but not one that made any headlines. It's a simple account of an almost insignificant incident on a Cape Town street as a couple of determined women confront two policemen who've detained a young boy simply because they didn't like the look of him. In a political poem such as this, subtlety is all-important. The words must appear simple but convey overwhelming meanings and associations. In this field, Debbie Camelin is supreme.
This year, as you know, the prize pool for both our poetry contests has been increased to $5,550 (including a First Prize of $3,000). Entry fees have not been raised.
To enter your poems in our current poetry contests, you will find full information at http://margaretreid.exactpages.com OR http://poetrycontests.exactpages.com
You will also note that although the prize-money has been increased, entry fees do remain at $7 for every 25 lines.
Unlike almost all other poetry contests, we impose no limits on the number of lines or number of poems you may submit.
For full details, you can also visit the home page of http://www.winningwriters.com
The latest poetry anthology by Margaret Reid herself is Love & City Dreaming: Poems by Margaret Havill Reid
Margaret's range and versatility in this book provide an excellent guide to the verse we are seeking for the Margaret Reid Prize. For instance, free verse is most acceptable. Despite what some people think, FREE VERSE IS A TRADITIONAL VERSE FORM. The Ancient Egyptians wrote free verse. The famous English poet, Christopher Smart (1722-1771), wrote free verse. True, free verse did go out of fashion in the 19th century, but so did many other verse forms such as sestinas, villanelles, roundels, etc. All these forms are acceptable for the Margaret Reid Prize.
You'll also find plenty of rousing titles and attention-getting poems in our previous anthologies of winning entries from both the Margaret Reid and Tom Howard Contests. In addition to SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME, other recommended anthologies are ACROSS THE LONG BRIDGE: An Anthology of Award-Winning Poetry (this is also available in a very attractive hardcover edition) which contains 133 winning and commended entries from both contests and TRAVELING: An Anthology of Award-Winning Poetry which contains 58 winners from the Tom Howard Contest, plus 10 additional poems.
Finally, I'd like to mention my own book, Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION
Ever entered a contest, taken a look at the winning entry and said to yourself, "How on earth could they give First Prize to that thing? The judge must have bats in his belfry!" No way! The truth is that particular entry was awarded First Prize because it was the sort of entry the judge was actively seeking. Your entry was one he automatically rejected. So, if you've been wasting your time and money sending out great stories and magnificent poems to Contests that immediately place them in the reject basket, here's an essential book to help you select the RIGHT CONTESTS.
For example, there are a number of prestigious Poetry Contests that NEVER award prizes to traditional rhyming verse, even though they imply in their rules that such forms are acceptable. So how do you separate a suitable contest for your work from one in which you'll just waste your time and money? One of the key recommendations in my Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS is that you take a look at some of the entries that have won prizes in previous years. This will give you some idea of the types and varieties of poems and stories that have won prizes in the past. Judges may change from year to year for some contests but the sponsors always remain the same. These sponsors always appoint judges who are in complete sympathy with their ideas. So if the XYZ Poetry Contest has never awarded a cash prize for traditional rhyming verse, it's not going to do so this year, even though the judge may be a new face!