Artemesia Arts

Poetry Competition


Winner, Runners-up and highly commended poets

Congratulations to the winner, runners-up and highly commended poets in the 2024 Artemesia Poetry competition, judged by Matt Harvey. We are delighted by your success.

Winner Glen Wilson with poem Setting Bones

Runner Up Denise O’Hagan with poem The Maid awakens at 5 am
Runner Up Derek Sellen with poem The strangeness of water

Highly Commended Gary Day with poem Anne Bronte’s grave
Highly Commended Sujatha Menon with poem Cytoskeleton of a spell
Highly Commended Erica Jane Morris with poem Further failings
Highly Commended Mark Totterdell with poem Shiver
Highly Commended Rod Whitworth with poem Lake

Matt Harvey said of the competition:

“It’s traditional to say how hard a job it’s been, and with such strong poems I could say this and be believed. But once I realised the task wasn’t to find the ‘best’ poems so much as to identify my favourites, the process became hugely enjoyable. My approach was to re-read them all – often when they least expected it – and notice which ones I most relished going back to. The longer this process went on the more enjoyable it became. So the prize-winners, the highly commendeds, while I can’t say definitively they’re the best, are the poems that sang to me, or sang the sweetest. And while appreciation of poetry is always personal, I’m confident these poems will give pleasure to a wide range of readers.”


The Short List

Artemesia Art’s is delighted to announce the short-listed poets from their 2024 Poetry Competition judged by Matt Harvey.

Matt will be selecting the winner, runners up and commended poems from the short-list, and we expect to publish this list in the next 10 days.

The standard of poetry has been exceptional in this second year of the competition. Thank you to all those who entered, it has been a joy to read your poems.

The short-listed poets for Artemesia Art’s 2024 Poetry Competition

Philip Bellamy, Alice Brooker, Lesley Cooke, Gary Day, Francesca Duffield, Claudia Farese, Tessa Foley, Andrew George, Eileen Gordon, Kate Gratton, Denise O’Hagan, Pam Job, Ben Keatinge, Sue Kindon, Bridget Khurshead, Frank Lowry, Kristen Mears, Sujatha Menon, Mili McCoy, Erica Jane Morris, Simon Parker, Ansuya Patel, Geoff Petty, Anthony Powers, Estelle Price, Martin Rieser, Derek Sellen, Korrin Smith Whitehouse, Gloria Sanders, Jackie Skingley, Sally Spiers, Sally Stanford, Marcus Tickner, Mark Totterdell, Christian Ward, Glen Wilson, Rod Whitworth, Judith Wozniak, Jill Zhao

The Headlines

The Artemesia Arts 2024 Poetry Competition is now closed. Thank you to all those who entered the competition this year.

Scroll on for details of entry requirements and prizes.

Entries must be the original work of the author
Poems must be written in English and can be on any theme, in any poetic form or style.
The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18.
The Artemesia Arts Poetry Competition is open for entries from 21st December 2023.
The poetry competition closes on 7th April 2024 at midnight CET (Central European Time) any entry arriving after this date and time will not be eligible for consideration.
The shortlisted poets will be informed ahead of any published results.
The winner and runners up will be advised ahead of any published results.
By entering the competition, you are agreeing to your work being published in the Artemesia Arts 2024 Anthology, should it be selected for publication.
Results will be published in late June on the Artemesia Arts Website



1st Prize £200 (two hundred pounds sterling)
plus winning poem published in Artemesia Arts Poetry Anthology 2024 (Publisher: Mosaïque Press Chapbook series)

2 runners up £75 each (seventy five pounds sterling)
plus winning poem(s) published in Artemesia Arts Poetry Anthology 2024 (Publisher: Mosaïque Press Chapbook series)

A further 25 poems will be considered for publication in the Artemesia Arts Poetry Anthology 2024 (Publisher: Mosaïque Press Chapbook series).

All poets included in the 2024 Anthology will receive 1 free copy of the final anthology once it is published.

All winners will be invited to read at the 2024 poetry@treignac poetry weekend on the 6th– 8th September 2024 in Treignac, Corrèze, South West France.

The Detail

Written in any legible plain font, point 12 with 1.15 spacing between each line up to a maximum of 40 lines, not counting the title or any line spaces.
Each poem should be on a new page in a Word document.
PDFs will not be accepted.
If you have concern over the formatting of your poem, please get in touch with Kate Rose at #kate rose in the subject line via
Entries must not have been published, self-published, broadcast or posted online, including on a personal blog.
Entries should not have won a prize elsewhere.
Simultaneous submission is permitted, however if your poem wins a prize or is published elsewhere, please let us know as soon as possible so we can remove it from the competition.
Entries will be read and judged anonymously so pleased do not include your name other than on the cover sheet.
Please do not include or show your name or any other contact details on the page or pages attached with your poem(s).

Entry Fee

  • Entry is 6€ (six euros) per poem
  • The Judge’s decision to award a prize is final, no discussion of results will ensue.
  • Artemesia Arts decision to publish is at its own discretion
  • No refunds will be made under any circumstances once a poem/poems have been submitted
  • Please note you pay a fee per poem submitted
  • If there is a difference between your writer’s and your payment fee name, please advise 
  • If there is a difference between your email name and your writer’s name, please advise

Sending your entry

By email to
Please put Artemesia Arts Poetry Competition in the title box of your email and include the following information in the body of the email:


We are are delighted to announce our Poetry Judge for the 2024 Artemesia Arts Poetry Competition is Matt Harvey.

Matt Harvey

Poet, lyricist, and columnist Matt Harvey has been a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4 since 2001 when he co-wrote and co-starred in One Night Stanza. He also served seven years as regular poet on Saturday Live, hosted two series of The Wondermentalist Cabaret and wrote and performed the adventures of superhero Empath Man. 

Books include The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind, two picture books for children, Shopping With Dad and Beastie and the Boys, and two picture book for adults, Sit! and Careless Whisker with artist Claudia Schmid. With composer Stephen Deazley he created A Little Book of Monsters and The Songbook of Unsingable Songs and, with Thomas Hewitt Jones, The Same Flame and their first musical, Rumpelstiltskin.

Matt was first official Poet-in-Residence at the Wimbledon Championships (“brilliant” the New Yorker) and has been commissioned by – among others – the Science Museum, the Open University and the Energy Ombudsman. Other residencies include RegenSW (from which The Element in the Room was nominated for a P.E.A. Award) and ITM Power, that result in H Ain’t Heavy, poems inspired by green hydrogen. For three years he wrote the Desktop Poetry slot in the Guardian and later the Qwerty Something column for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine.


Artemesia Arts Poetry Panel

Matt will be supported by members of the Artemesia Arts Poetry Panel



Administrator and first point of contact

Kate Rose is the competition administrator. You can contact her at #kate rose in the subject box via

Kate is a published poet and has been placed in a number of poetry competitions.  The 2024 competition will be the sixth competition she has managed.


Colours of the Moon

Mosaïque Press is a boutique bibliophile publisher passionate about books. They love giving form to their authors’ ideas, supporting their creativity with their special blend of editorial, design and publishing experience.

Their growing portfolio of poetry is published under Chapbooks by Mosaïque Press.’ They published Artemesia Arts 2023 Competition, Colours of the Moon, including 34 poems and 29 poets.



Writing Resources

Advice from our judges on giving your poems the best chance in competitions

Take it to the limit

We enter our poetry competitions with a hope of perhaps being shortlisted, long-listed, commended or even of winning.  When we are not successful we look eagerly to see who has won.  All too often to find that many winners are professionals or academics who are published poets and who spend all their time immersed in the life poetic.

But take heart.  A sift through twenty years of National Poetry Competition winners came up with five previously unpublished poets, including an NHS worker, a full-time carer, a scientist and a bookshop assistant (who was at least surrounded by the right material).  

Whether you have published your work, have been writing for years or you are new to poetry, the important thing is to make your entries as good as you can possibly make them.   To give your poems the best possible chance.  To take them from the perfectly good to the sublime.  Interestingly, to pedants like me who constantly bang the drum for scrutiny, editing and improvement, some of winners say they dashed off their successful poems in one sitting.  Believe me, this is the exception.   

We’re now going to share some of our judging experiences in the later sifts of the process.  The fifty percent that had survived the first sift were read again.  And again. Some had already risen to a place in a column you might call definite possibles whilst the rest were divided between maybe possibles and possible possibles.  The sifting continued until only the definite possibles were left. 

Our highly experienced judge, Roger McGough, said at the end‘…the standard was particularly high, which made whittling down the final selection almost impossible…’.  A poem of yours could well have been in the final whittle so lets look at some of the ways we can make our poems the best they can possibly be.  

Contemporary poets vary enormously in the number of drafts they scribble out.  One advice book alone gives averages of seven or eight against seventy or eighty (yes really).  How you edit though is probably more important than how many times (although do be aware of tinkering away until you lose your initial passion). Don’t forget to keep your original and label your subsequent drafts to avoid confusion.

Look closely at your poem.  What can you cut out?  Count your adverbs and adjectives?  How many are there compared to the verbs?  It’s the verbs that will hold up your poem, like a scaffold (as Roger McGough might say) and the adjectives will adorn it like bunting.  But how much bunting do you need?  Try cutting them all out and see what happens.  You might be delighted with the result or you might think a bit of the decoration needs to go back in.  It’s your poem, your choice, but do look at it from the reader’s point of view.  Is your essential mood, passion, feeling, all there without embellishment?

Now, does it start in the right place?  Would that last stanza be better at the beginning? Does the introduction give the game away too soon?  An element of surprise is always a good thing.  

What about your lines and line breaks?  Have you written a long continuous poem or have you constructed couplets, quatrains or random stanzas?  However you wrote it to start with, try a difference sequence.  If you’ve written free verse, try it in a form.  Or if in form deconstruct it into free verse.  Does this help the lines breaks?  Or hinder them?  What sounds best with the stanza breaks when you read it aloud? 

What looks best on the page?  You might think this is unimportant but, as judges, we can more readily appreciate the beauty in the language if the visual image is clear.  If the poem takes up every inch of white space from top to bottom of the page, there is a slight sinking of the heart.  Far better if the poem trips along in its rhythm and bounces from one idea to the next, delighting us at every turn.

A final word on the last line.  I remember none other than Carol Ann Duffy saying at a workshop that the end of a poem should never be used to sum-up or explain the poem.  I hear you rise up in indignation, as most of us have done this at some time.  She went on to explain that if we have done our job of ‘show not tell’ properly a summary is unnecessary.  And far better to leave the reader with a surprise.  Use the last lines to show something different. Instead of telling them the same thing in a different way, leave your reader wanting more…

Sheila and Kate and our eminent judge, Matt Harvey, hope very much to see your work in our next competition.  There is plenty of time before our 7th April deadline to make those improvements to send your work rising through the ranks.

(From February 2024)

The first cut is the deepest

Is judging poetry competitions an art or a process?  Does it depend on the eye of the judges to spot the outstanding?  Or is it more a case of identifying the technically correct? Of course it is all of this and more.  So how can you make sure that your gems are going to get through the various sifts and have the best chance of rising to the top of the pile? 

You will have seen judges giving feedback that on another day with another judge a different poem could have been the winner.  When the judges say this they are talking about the poems that got through the early sifts.  That had the technical merit and the poetic imagination to take them far into the process.  It is from here on that it becomes an art to find the poems that the judges feel deserve those winning slots and the one that shines out as the overall winner.  So what, for us, constituted an immediate rejection?  

Not sticking to the guidelines (allowing these poems through would be unfair to those that did). 

Anything over our line limit is out straightaway.  Poems with extraordinarily long lines which looked like two lines made into one to keep within the limit. 

Cliches – your own ideas and expression will always be original so avoid ready-made phrases. 

Personal snapshots – keep your audience in mind to ensure your poems can mean as much to them as to you. 

Telling rather than showing – reporting as though it is a news report, rather than creating a picture for your audience. 

Poems that are too wordy and over-long – a judicious edit will always improve your work. 

Poems that are written for the rhyme rather than from the soul.

Let’s take a look at rhyme.  It’s true that modern poetry centres around message, emotion and syntax.  The strict structural norms of the past are no longer essential and can feel forced and unnatural.  The tone of poetry has shifted to be relatable, realistic and more natural.  However, echoes of rhyme and half rhyme throughout the poem still resonate with the reader and can add richness to your work.  The important thing is not to be a slave to rhyme.  Readers will know if your poem is based on the rhyme rather than the message; and this is unlikely to catch the imagination of the judges.  It is also no longer appropriate to reverse the word order to get a rhyme.  There is plenty of advice on the internet about rhyming in poetry.  Do take the time to read it.  It can only help your practice to grow and develop.

Punctuation was also a discussion point for us as so may of you did without it altogether.  We realise this is a popular choice in contemporary poetry, but we would advise reading your poem aloud to see how it works without punctuation.  We found many poems with part punctuation. Does the poet want to include selective punctuation or have they just got it wrong?  Used correctly punctuation helps your reader to understand how you want them to hear the poem with your pauses and stresses.  If you decide to do away with punctuation, make sure you know why you are doing it.  If you like the clean look of lines without punctuation, and you believe your poem is strong enough to read clearly without being propped up, then by all means go ahead.  But please don’t just do it because you think it’s modern or trendy.  It’s not that modern and following trends in poetry is an unlikely way for your personal voice to emerge triumphant.   

A word on confusion.  Tear.  Did you read rip or cry?  Words that are homonyms (spelled and sounding the same) can create an entirely unwanted image in a poem.  Make sure the reader gets what you mean.  The best poems might be mysterious, elusive, even opaque but they are not usually confusing. 

On the subject of best poems, let me leave you with the soundest advice you can ever get about writing poetry – if you want to write good poetry, read good poetry.  Traditional, rhyming, punctuated or not, read as much as you can.  Read our competition winners; other competition successes and read the best poets, traditional and contemporary.  Only this way can you come to recognize good and great poetry and begin to move your own work in the right direction. 

Next time…

Moving to the next level – how to take your poems from the quite good to the compelling. (See above…)