The Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max)

The Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max)

Judged by Rory Waterman

1st prize: £1000. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

20 lines max.

Poems up to 20 lines. To make very little do a lot is a big challenge.

Our judge, Rory Waterman, is a master of the very short poem. Indeed, he teaches an Arvon Masterclass on the elements that make up the miniature form, including metre, rhyme, line breaks, imagery, and metaphor.

Rory has written three collections, all published by Carcanet: Tonight the Summer’s Over (2013), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, shortlisted for a Seamus Heaney Award; Sarajevo Roses (2017), shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize; and Sweet Nothings (2020). His fourth collection will be published in 2024.

He is a critic for the TLS, PN Review, Poetry Review and elsewhere, and has published several books on modern poetry. He co-edits New Walk Editions.

Since 2012, he has worked at Nottingham Trent University, where he is Associate Professor of Modern Literature and leads the MA in Creative Writing. Website: www.rorywaterman.com

So, send Rory your very short poems. A Top 10 placing will get you published in our inaugural anthology, but only the Top 3 win the prizes.

“I'm delighted to judge the Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max). It is a Good Thing. I love the range of categories you have for prizes. I've never seen such variety!”

Rory Waterman

The Prizes

First Prize: £1,000

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Top 10

The 10 shortlisted entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2, which will be launched at our second awards ceremony in 2024.

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 31st October 2023
  • Writers can enter any number of times. (£10.00 Subsequent entry: £5.00)
  • Poems can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on the Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the 20 line limit, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be original, entirely your own work. No co-writing. Plagiarised or AI-generated work will be disqualified, and this disqualification may extend to any future competitions. (We must now use AI to check.)

Entries must NOT have been published traditionally because we will publish the 10 shortlisted in our second anthology. Self-published poems ARE eligible for entry.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


Maximum 20 lines.


£10.00 per poem. (Subsequent entry: £5.00)

Entries must be submitted online via Submittable. No email or snail-mail submissions.


  • Entries must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font, SINGLE- or DOUBLE-spaced, with the poem’s title on the top of the first page. (Any minor formatting issues will not lead to disqualification. Please just make sure your work is as easy to read as possible.)
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the line count for the poem, top right, first page.
  • Do not add cover pages.
  • No illustrated work, please.


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes Ltd. reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes Ltd. reserves the right to publish poems in our annual anthology and use extracts from any of the 10 shortlisted poems for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The Poetry 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners will be announced on the website and social media in January 2024. The 10 short-listed entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2, which will be launched at our awards ceremony in 2024.

Bursary Scheme

In 2023-2024, we are offering 100 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to poets on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: hello@theplazaprizes.com

ENTER by pressing the big orange button below.