14 October 2017 - 4 November 2017


20161007 POTY 0022



The Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition has now become an internationally respected event with poems being received from all over the world.  This year 311 poems were submitted from as far afield as Dubai and Massachusetts, from all corners of Europe and the British Isles, and we are delighted that many have been entered by our very active and talented local poets.

The Competition culminates at the Awards Evening when the shortlisted poems will be read, whenever possible by the poets themselves, and the Poet of the Year will be announced.  He or she will receive the University of Kent Prize of £200, along with the title, second place receives £100 and third £50.  In addition, the Best-Read Poem receives a bottle of sparkling wine and the People’s Choice (the favourite poem of the audience) gets £25.

During the evening, there will also be an open mic session, open to anyone who registers (limited time available) and anthologies of the long-listed poems will be available for purchase.  

Doors open at 7pm and reading start at 7.30pm, and entrance is free.

If you would like to find out more about previous years choose from the archives below. To read last year's winning poems click here: Midsummer Landing & Love (Through Lidded Eyes)


2016 competition Overview and winners

2015 competition overview and winners





From 2010-2013 the Festival hosted a Canterbury Laureate, throwing a spotlight on talented local poets. Click here to read more.  


Long List 2017


A Mother - Steve Xerri

Basilisk - Jack Andrew Lenton

Beech on Ide Hill - Roger James

Blind Horse - Noel Connor

Crossing a Street in Mosul Nov 2016 - James Finnegan

Danube - Roger James

Dear Sir or Madam - Paul Jeffecutt

Dearest Sis - Tess Adams

Disappearance of the Great Bear - Steve Xerri

Dollis Park - Frances Knight

Have you ever thought how You’d like to die? - Dave Simpson

Hosam Salrm of Gaza takes a photo of a man - Greta Ross

I Watch. I Wait. I Work. - Maggie Yaxley Smith

In which his ten-year-old granddaughter….  - Roger Elkin

Key to the Highway - Chris Hardy

Lanhydrock - Graham Burchell

Lizzie Brown - Peter Branson

London to Brighton - Charlotte Cornell

Losing Kate - Jane Lovell

Niamh at Two Months - Trevor Breedon

On the 45-minute boat tour, Amlafi coast  - Mark Holihan

Ovid still in exile - Christopher James

Penelope - Clifford Liles

Primavera - Roger James

Reading Raymond Carver II - James Finnegan

Scuttle - Gary Studley

Spoor - Jack Faricy

Thank you Tomas Trastrőmer - James Finnegan

The Jungian Analyst - Sumeet Grover

The Social Worker - Isobel Thrilling

Visitation - Isobel Thrilling

Walk before, rain, After the Diagnosis - Mark Holihan

Why Argue in Sienna - Clifford Liles

With the Artists’ Rifle - Geraldine Paine

Worship – Recession Style - Gary Studley