Last year's 12th annual Manchester Cathedral Interfaith Religious Poetry Competition was a great success with over 370 people sending in over 900 poems, many of which were from abroad, confirming the competition's Interfaith status. I entered a couple of poems last year but was not among the winners.
There is a different judge each year. In 2010 the judge is Irish poet, Vona Groarke, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and a lecturer at the University of Manchester Centre. The Judge in 2009 was another Irish poet John McAuliffe.
What exactly is a "religious" poem is open to interpretation of course and the following are the guidelines from a previous year: The poems submitted should be ‘broadly religious,’ that is, ‘spiritual’ in nature and, like all good religious poetry, should appeal to those who would not necessarily describe themselves as such. ‘Religious’ thus includes poems that are Christian, as well as those from within other faith traditions. Those struggling to discover their own sense of the sacred are also invited to submit entries. Poems are welcome in any style or form and will be judged solely on their merits as poetry.
There are no details yet on the cathedral website but you can get further enquiries or an entry form by contacting the Cathedral office [0161 833 2220] or emailing the organiser, Canon A. E. Radcliffe – email@example.com.
Here are some of the rules:
The Competition is open to everyone. Poems should have no more than 40 lines each, not including the title.
Competitors may enter as many poems as they wish. Manuscripts cannot be returned.
Poems will be judged anonymously and must be accompanied by an Entry Form and an Entry Fee of £4 for the first poem and £2.50 for each additional poem. Only Sterling cheques, postal and money orders will be accepted. Cheques must be drawn from UK Banks.
Entries must be received by Wednesday 30th June 2010. The Judge’s decision is final.
The results of the competition will be announced on National Poetry Day 2010. The prize winning poem will be printed in the Cathedral Newsletter for November 2010, and all three poems, with the Runners Up, in a Competition booklet. The prize winning poems will be read and the prizes presented at a special event at the Cathedral, part of the Manchester Literature Festival, on Thursday 21st October 2010.
It's a pity that there is no facility for online entry or payment. Last year I emailed asking if they would accept sterling notes and they said no so I had to get a sterling draft.