For those who enjoy a poetic challenge Poet-in-Residence recommends the 6th annual poetry competition from iota the quarterly poetry journal published at Lodge Farm, Snitterfield, Stratford-on-Avon, England, by Bob Mee and Janet Murch.
1) There is no line limit. Too often poems and ideas must be stuffed and crammed into 20, 30 or 40 lines. Like too small shoes - they must be made to fit. It's great to see that iota still allows an unlimited number of lines for that worthy poem. Long may it continue!
2) Entry costs a realistic two pounds per poem. One international poetry competition recently had no less than 3 different entry fees, dependant on where the entrant lived. The EU resident paid the most, followed by the UK resident, and then paying the least came the USA entrant. A people's poet scraping an existence in an old iron curtain country like Hungary would need to dig deep to find almost twice as much entry-'geld' as his star-spangled brother residing in the well-heeled film star state of California.
3) iota always reveals how many entries there were in the competition. Last year the contest attracted about 600 poems if memory serves correctly. It's curious how many competitions don't provide this basic piece of information.
4) The prize money is about what you'd expect. There are 4 prizes ranging from twenty-five to one hundred pounds. Winning poems are also published.
The closing date for this year's competition is April 15th 2008. Potential entrants should visit the iota website at www.iotapoetry.co.uk and read previous winning poems.