Enter the Country Life poetry competition

Calling all budding poets: Country Life is running a poetry competition, with the winning effort to be published in full in the magazine.

The Country Life poetry competition offers readers the chance to see their work published in the magazine and we’d love to see your poems, however loosely based, on the theme of the countryside and Nature. It is open to established and unpublished writers alike — all we ask is that the poem you submit is previously unpublished and wholly original.

The winning effort will be chosen by Country Life’s editor, Mark Hedges; Tim Relf, author of Penguin-published novel What She Left; and Salma Begum, Picador’s in-house poetry expert.

‘I like poems that make me feel as if I’m there, with the writer, in a very specific spot,’ notes Mr Relf. ‘They needn’t necessarily gushingly eulogise about the countryside, either. I’d like to read work that is truly reflective of rural life in all its many forms.’

Competition rules

  • Your poem should be no more than 50 lines long
  • It should not have been previously published (either in print or online), self- published or broadcast on television or radio
  • It must be your own, original, unaided work and not a translation of another poet
  • We are unable to provide feedback on work submitted
  • The judging panel’s decision is final
  • The winning poem will be published in full in a future issue of the magazine
  • Entries must be typed, double line spaced, and sent via email to countrylifepoetry@gmail.com or posted to Paula Lester, Country Life, Unit 415 Eskdale Road, Winnersh Triangle Business Park, Winnersh, Reading, Berkshire RG41 5TU
  • Closing date: midnight on Monday, November 8, 2021

Three tips for aspiring poets

  • Read: there’s no better preparation for writing than reading. Explore a variety of styles — from epics to haikus — and think about why the words have the exact effect on you they do.
  • Write: this sounds obvious to say, but you do actually have to start somewhere. However daunting a blank page might feel, get something down on paper. You can always edit it later and the process of doing so will help.
  • Share: all the best authors value feedback. Choosing who to show your work to is key — pick someone who will give you an honest opinion, but also be encouraging.