Keats Poetry Competition


23:59 - 15 March 2021

The great romantic poet John Keats died on 23 February, 1821, at the age of 25, his body racked by then-incurable tuberculosis. Despite his young age, he had already studied for a career as an apothecary and surgeon, and then given up medicine in order to write poetry. The result is a body of work consisting of around 150 poems that have touched the hearts of readers for 200 years, and a place among the greatest of English poets.

To honour his memory, Writing Magazine poets are invited to enter a competition for poems rooted in any aspect of his life or work. There is plenty of scope. From his childhood in London, being orphaned and brought up by his grandmother and two guardians, his education and medical training, relationships with the two women whose friendship meant so much to him, to the ups and downs of his medical and writing careers, and then his final months of pain in Rome, where it was hoped that the warmer climate would help him, his life story is as fascinating as it is tragic.

Every one of the poems he left has the potential to be a source of inspiration for today’s poets. An idea, a few lines or simply a phrase still has the power to ignite the imagination of fellow writers. However well you know Keats, a few hours re-reading the great odes, or Endymion, The Eve of St Agnes or his sonnets will allow you to luxuriate in his ideas, his leaps of imagination, and the intensity of his imagery and wording. They may also inspire your entry for the competition.

Keats’ legacy could be another source of inspiration. He has been copied and quoted, taught in schools and colleges, set as a text for spoken English examinations, and turned into poster art. How did you first meet him? What effect did the encounter have on you?

Entries should be no longer than 40 lines, and the closing date is 15 March.


The winner will receive £100, with £50 for the runner-up. Both poems will be published in Writing Magazine

Standard Rate
£ 7.50
Subscriber Rate
£ 5.00