Dial-a-Poem Competition

The Dial-a-Poem National Student Poetry Competition, supported by Nottingham Trent University and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is now open for entries. Over £1000 in National Book Tokens is available to prize-winners. The competition is free to enter.

Dial-a-Poem celebrates 50 years since John Giorno’s public art project launched in New York City. Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem connected callers to answering machines playing recordings by poets such as Allen Ginsberg, John Cage and Patti Smith. 2020 will see the service re-wired across several platforms: a mobile-app, a sound installation in the City of Nottingham and a nationwide competition.

The competition invites students enrolled at a UK institute of higher or further education to enter a poem on the theme of calling. This brief may be interpreted freely – poems can be directly or indirectly ‘telephonic’.

Winning poems will be published and recorded for the Dial-A-Poem app, a renovated K8 phone kiosk in the City of Nottingham and project website. The app will launch at The Science Museum in 2020.

Prizes are awarded in National Book Tokens. First prize is £500, second prize is £300 and third prize is £200. An additional prize of £100 National Book Token will be awarded to a student currently enrolled at Nottingham Trent University.

The competition will be judged anonymously by prize-winning poet Jane McKie.

Jane McKie has nine poetry publications, both pamphlets and book-length, some as collaborations with artists. Morocco Rococo won the Sundial/Scottish Arts Council award for best first book of 2007. In 2011, Jane won the Edwin Morgan poetry prize, and in the same year Garden of Bedsteads (Mariscat Press) was a Poetry Book Society Choice. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.

Guidelines for entry

The competition is open to all students enrolled at an institution of higher education, including postgraduate and research students, as well as submissions from further education students.

The closing date of the competition is midnight, 10 February 2020.

Entries are limited to one poem per entry. Poems should not exceed more than forty lines in length.

Entries should be submitted via email to dialapoem@ntu.ac.uk

We do not accept postal entries.

Poems to be submitted in English.

Submissions must include a scanned copy or photo of the entrant’s student card, and be sent from an ac.uk or school/college email address.

The judge’s decision is final. Neither the judge nor NTU staff will enter into correspondence.

All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the Word document containing the poem itself.

Entries must not have been published by a publisher or magazine, either online or in print, entered simultaneously elsewhere, or on a blog or website.

Prizewinners will be notified in March 2020.

One prize per entry. If a student of NTU wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize, the NTU prize will be awarded to the next best entry by an NTU student.

The copyright of each poem remains with the author, but authors of the winning and commended poems, by entering the competition, agree to have their poem published on the Dial-a-Poem website, recorded for the Dial-a-Poem app and phone booth, and stored in Nottingham Trent University’s digital archive.

Please direct any enquiries to sam.buchan-watts@ntu.ac.uk