Poetry Can is proud to announce

The Bristol Poetry Prize 2015


1st Prize: £600 plus an invitation to read at Bristol Poetry Festival 2016

2nd Prize: £300 

3rd Prize: £100 

Judge: W N Herbert (All poems will be seen by W N Herbert)

Entry fee: £6.00 per poem

Members of Poetry Can may submit second and third poems free.

To find out about and become a Poetry Can Member visit the Poetry Can Membership page


All profits generated by the Bristol Poetry Prize will directly fund Bristol Poetry Festival 2015.


Bristol houses


The Bristol Poetry Prize is organised by Poetry Can. Founded in Bristol in 1995, Poetry Can is the poetry development agency for the South West and one of the key poetry organisations in the U.K. Bristol Poetry Festival supports the work of local, national and international poets and performers as well as providing a showcase for poetry/education projects developed by poets working with groups in the community in Bristol. By entering the Bristol Poetry Prize you will be directly supporting Bristol Poetry Festival.


W N Herbert



A poet of great variety, equally at home in Scots and English, W.N. Herbert’s work draws from tradition and contemporary culture to create poems of humour, sentiment and ideas.

Described as “a prolific and fluent poet” (Lilias Fraser) and “a brilliant and notorious maverick” (Paterson & Simic), Herbert writes poetry often fuelled by the unlikeliest of juxtapositions. His twin pole-stars are Hugh MacDiarmid and William Topaz McGonagall, the intellectual and the clown, both with an unwavering belief in their own genius in the face of public ridicule, and both committed to challenging the Scotland of their time. Herbert (like his mentor and fellow MacDiarmid scholar Duncan Glen) has spent most of his writing life south of the border, settling in Newcastle-upon-Tyne which, located at one end of Hadrian’s Wall, the old border separating the ‘civilised’  and the ‘barbarian’, seems an apt place of residence for such a poet of contraries.

Herbert’s collections include The Testament of the Reverend Thomas Dick (Arc, 1994), and five books published by Bloodaxe: Forked Tongue (1994),  Cabaret McGonagall (1996), The Laurelude (1998), The Big Bumper Book of Troy (2002) and Bad Shaman Blues (2006). Cabaret McGonagall was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection), the McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year, and received a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, as did Forked Tongue and The Laurelude.

 A full biography can be found at www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/w-n-herbert


To enter the competition

You can either enter the Bristol Poetry Prize 2015 by post or online.

Overseas (non-UK entries) can be made via the online form ONLY.

By post

To enter the competition by post, download the instructions and rules as a doc or instruction and rules as a pdf

and download the entry form as a doc or download the entry form as a pdf.

Postal entries postmarked no later than Thursday 7 January 2016 will be accepted.



To enter the competition online, download the rules as a doc or download the rules as a pdf, read them and fill in the form below and attach your poems.

You will then be taken to a payment page where you can pay by PayPal or debit/credit card.

Online entries must be received no later than midnight 8 January 2016.