Competition 2023: Judge Philip Gross

The 2023 Poets & Players competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. Good luck







We are pleased to announce the 11th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

Our judge for 2023 is Philip Gross

Philip Gross

Photo credit: Stephen Morris

Philip Gross has published 25 collections, for adults and for young people, over 40 years of publication; his latest, The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe, 2022), a PBS
Recommendation, is shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. He won the T.S. Eliot in 2009, a Cholmondeley Award in 2017, and is a keen collaborator, e.g. with Lesley Saunders on A Part of the Main (Mulfran, 2018), with scientists on the young people’s collection Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry, 2018) and with artist Valerie Coffin Price and Welsh-language poet Cyril Jones on Troeon/Turnings (Seren, 2021).





Philip Gross will read ALL poems. All poems will be judged anonymously.

1st Prize: £600, 2nd Prize: £200, 3rd Prize: £100

Commended poets at the judge’s discretion.

Closing Date: Wednesday 15 March 2023

Winners will be informed by Wednesday 26 April 2023 and will be invited to read alongside Philip Gross at the prize giving ceremony scheduled for Saturday afternoon 20 May 2023 (2.30-4.00pm) at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. If you have not been notified by Wednesday 26 April 2023, we are afraid you have not been successful.


  • The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but must be the author’s own original work (no translations). They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by Wednesday 15 March 2023, up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT);  Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.


ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

entry form 2023

All email entries will be acknowledged.

Please email the completed Competition Entry Form and poems to

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the email (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Poems must be in English. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Payment must be paid by PayPal.
  • IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.                       
        • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
        • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards  
                                                                                                                                        CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).                                                                          COPYRIGHT Entrants retain copyright of their poems, however, we will publish the winning poems on our website. We would also hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners’ readings for use on social media.                                                                                                                                                                                                         What previous judges have said about the Poets & Players Competition
  • I’ve long admired Poets & Players. Theirs were the first live readings I attended as a teenager, and I’ll never forget the thrill of it. It was such a pleasure to be asked to judge this competition, which was brilliantly organised, and drew in such a range of exciting poems, stacked with images that stuck in my mind, lines that I couldn’t shake. The formal diversity of the entries was wonderful, and shows that contemporary poetry is in excellent hands.                                                                                                  (Seán Hewitt, 2021)
  • When Poets & Players asked me to judge their competition I happily agreed. It’s an organisation I have long admired, from its earliest days with the inspiring founder Linda Chase, to today’s impressive incarnation in the splendid Whitworth Gallery. (Pascale Petit, 2018)
  • Poets & Players is one of the most significant and impressive poetry organisations in the country: the quality of the readings it puts on, its presence in the city is remarkable, so I’m delighted to be part of it in judging this competition.         (Michael Symmons Roberts, 2017)
  • What was electrifying about this year’s entries … was not just the wide and eclectic range of subject matters … but also the range of forms and tones, the many tongues and registers that together created a resonating and distinct entry of poetry.  (Jackie Kay, 2016)
  • What a fabulously organised competition… One tries to dissuade people from the idea of competitions but if you’re going to have one have it like this.                                 (Paul Muldoon, 2015)
  • It was actually really fun judging the competition because you get the sense of what is happening in poetry right now … it was fascinating to take the temperature, as it were, of contemporary poetry. I’d like to thank Poets and Players organisation for running the competition, for wanting to run the competition, but also in general for the work that they do in promoting poetry in Manchester and the broader area, it’s a commendable organisation and I’m delighted to be associated with it.                   (Vona Groarke, 2014)
  • This competition was scrupulously organised, and I loved the fact that the anonymity of the entries allowed each poem to speak for itself.                                                    (Jacob Polley, 2013)  

About Janet Rogerson

Janet Rogerson
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Competition 2023: Judge Philip Gross

  1. Paul Manton says:

    Having enormous difficulty applying on line. Have paid and entered Paypal reference but haven’t seen a window to upload my entry or a ‘send’ button to complete the entry.


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