The 2019 National Poetry Day 24-Hour Poem Competition

There will be prizes.
There will be chaos.
There will be a Winner, a Runner-up,
a Contestants’ Pick
and an Organiser’s Husband’s Choice.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a poem of no more than thirty lines, containing ten supplied words.

There is a catch: you will only have the twenty-four hours of National Poetry Day in which to write, polish and submit your poem.

How hard could it be?

Competition Entry Conditions:

  • Entry is free, but is restricted to New Zealand citizens and residents.
  • Only one poem per entrant, of no more than 30 lines. This count does not include stanza breaks or the title.
  • Poems must be written in English.
  • All entrants must pre-register by August 16, and will be sent a password and url allowing them to access the competition page.
  • At midnight on National Poetry Day (when Thursday becomes Friday), the competition page will go live with the ten words that must be used in your poem.
  • Each of the ten words must be used at least once in the body of the poem. (They may appear in the title as well, as long as they also appear in the poem itself).
  • The words can appear in any order, but must be used in the form provided – no changes of tense, plurals, etc.
  • You must submit your poem no later than midnight August 24th (in other words, at the end of Poetry Day, when Friday becomes Saturday), through the official competition webpage as either an MSWord file (.doc or .docx) or as a pdf.
  • All entries will be judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself. The judge is Joanna Preston.
  • Results and the winning poems will be posted on the official competition page by the end of August. Winners will be contacted by email. (As access to the competition page is only for those with the password, the winning poems will not count as “previously published” for future competitions or publication.)
  • A shortlist of ten poems will be made available for all contestants to vote for as the Contestants’ Pick.
  • Thanks to the generosity of Victoria University Press, the Winner will receive all four shortlisted books from the Poetry Section of the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards, and the Runner-up, CP and OH’sC will receive at least two shortlisted titles each.

Ready to sign up?

Good luck! See you on National Poetry Day.

Many thanks to: publisher Victoria University Press for their generosity in providing the prizes;
to Phantom Billstickers for their ongoing support of National Poetry Day events;
and a nod to the good folk at Contemporary Verse 2, whose
2-Day Poem Competition was the inspiration for this insanity in the first place. 

To show your appreciation, click on the link and go check out their wares.


To see what else is happening on National Poetry Day, visit