Entering NFSPS’s poetry contests: why and how

As a KSPS member, you know you’re an awesome poet—and each year, you have a chance to let others know that too!  —By entering poems in National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ annual contests.  

Each state society is a member of NFSPS, so with your KSPS membership (dues paid by Jan. 15), you’re entitled to enter any or all of this year’s 50 contests for a total cost of $10 (except for the first contest, where a single entry is $5).  In addition to the possibility of winning or placing—and getting some $ and publication—, you also get the benefit of reviewing and editing a number of your poems.  Taking a look at what you’ve done is helpful as you move forward with your poetry-writing.  

The process of entering is a little complicated, but it’s manageable.  First, I like to assemble a folder with poems ready to be considered as entries.  Then, on the NFSPS website, read the Contest Rules and Guidelines and download the contest brochure.  Read through the contests, noting ones where you have poems that you could enter.  I usually print a copy of the brochure so I can pencil in poem possibilities for a contest.  

In preparing an entry, follow the directions: put the contest number and name on top left of the Word doc of your poem and don’t include your name.  I save that file into the folder, with the contest number and name as a title.  

Finally, prepare a Member Submission document, listing the numbers of the contests you’re entering and the total number entered.  

When all your entries are ready, submit them via the website/Submittable.  You’ll also need to upload the doc with the list of contest numbers.   If you’re a paid-up member of KSPS, your name will have been sent to NFSPS, so you can use the Member Submission button.  

There are directions for submitting paper copies, too, but the online submission is really a lot easier, not to mention saving on paper and postage.  

The NFSPS website also has a list of last year’s contest winners, including the number of poems submitted for each contest.  Most contests get 100-200 submissions.  I was delighted to receive a second place and a third place last year; other KSPS members have also .  Winners, including Honorable Mentions, get a nice certificate from NFSPS won or placed in recent years.  And the published collection, Encore, is a handsome volume.  

Please consider submitting your poems.  Let’s let the country see what good stuff Kentucky poets are doing!  Deadline for submissions is March 15.  

–Libby Falk Jones

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