BBC Proms Poetry Competition 2018

The Albert Hall at night
Image: Zoe Toseland

The BBC Proms Poetry Competition, run by the BBC Proms in association with The Poetry Society, explores the connection between words and music by asking entrants to submit a poem about a piece of music in this year’s Proms season. The Proms is an eight-week series of music concerts and other events, held mainly at the Royal Albert Hall in London. 

The 2018 season includes classical composers such as Mozart, Ravel, Fauré, Shostakovich, Debussy and Schubert, as well as concerts showcasing contemporary music and show tunes, free talks exploring themes such as the Faust legend, folk tales, mountains and the relationship between birds and humans, and events specifically for teenagers and families. 

There are two age categories in the poetry competition: 12-18 and 19 and over, so all users of Young Poets Network over the age of 12 are welcome to submit!

Emily Hana, who was the 12-18 age category winner in 2017, has said:

Winning the 2017 BBC Proms Poetry Competition was the perfect send off to a great year of growing as a poet. I received the phone call saying I’d won during a trip to Edinburgh Castle so my day was brightened even further, especially after telling myself that very same day I probably hadn’t won. My poem ‘The Planets in Love’ was based on Holst’s ‘The Planets’. You don’t have to have much knowledge of music to enter this competition – as cliché as it sounds, the poem is straight from my heart as I wrote the images and feelings the music conjured. Since winning I have taken part at open mics at uni which has provided me with inspiration and confidence. I’ve performed the poem live and have received praise from my friends and local poets alike which is the best feeling. Anyone should enter, musical or not, as it was such a fantastic and life-changing opportunity. Even if this is your first time writing, never doubt yourself as you never know where it will take you!

You can read the winning poems in last year’s competition by following this link.

To enter, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose a piece of music from this year’s Proms season. You can hear some clips and find out more information about the music by clicking on the individual event pages.
  2. Write your poem (up to 25 lines in length).
  3. Follow the rules on the competition website to enter your poem(s).

The poems will be judged by a panel which includes Ian McMillan, presenter of Radio 3’s The Verb, five-time Foyle Young Poet of the Year Helen Mort and Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society. Winners have their poems read out at a special Proms Plus event on Monday 3 September, and receive tickets to the Prom that night. 

This competition opens on Friday 15 June and closes on Sunday 19 August. Prepare your entries now by exploring the Proms programme.

To find out more about the competition and to enter your poems, visit the BBC Proms website

Please note that this competition is not run by YPN, so to enter you will need to do one of the following:

  • Post Proms Poetry Competition, 7th Floor, Zone D BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.

Good luck!

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