The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2018 launches on National Poetry Day

September 28, 2017

The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2018 launches today, 28 September, to coincide with National Poetry Day 2017.

Run by leading poetry magazine The Rialto, in partnership with the RSPB, BirdLife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the competition is open to original submissions written in English by entrants aged 18 years and over from anywhere in the world.

Judging the competition for the first time this year will be multi-award-winning Belfast poet Michael Longley CBE, who will pick the winning five poems – an overall winner, second and third place, plus two additional runners up.

Editor of The Rialto, Michael Mackmin said: “We’re delighted Michael Longley accepted our invitation to judge the Nature and Place Poetry Competition this year, especially given the strong presence of nature and place themes in his own work which serves as an inspiration for many readers and writers of poetry.”

Now in its 5th year, the Nature and Place Poetry Competition has become a standout event in the poetry calendar, with a first prize of £1,000, and second and third place prizes of £500 and a place on a creative writing course. Plus two additional prizes for the two runners up of personal tours with naturalists and nature writers Mark Cocker and Nick Davies.

With such wonderful prizes on offer, the competition attracts a high standard of entries.

Michael Mackmin: “The quality of the poems people write and enter into the competition is always high, which I think reflects the importance of nature and place in our lives but also the value and power of the written word to enable people to express the human connection with the world around them.”

As well as inspiring creative writing about the natural world and our place in it, the Nature and Place Poetry Competition makes a tangible contribution to nature conservation and has raised more than £60,000 for the work of competition partner the RSPB.

Matt Howard, RSPB Fundraising Officer and Rialto board member said: “The money The Rialto has raised through the competition makes a very real difference by helping us save nature, but its value runs beyond the financial contribution it makes to the RSPB’s conservation work. The competition shows just how important nature is to our cultural and imaginative lives, and vice versa.”

This is the first year the competition is being launched in conjunction with National Poetry Day, which will take place on Thursday 28 September 2017 and has as its theme ‘Freedom’.

Susannah Herbert, Executive Director, National Poetry Day: “We at National Poetry Day strongly believe everyone should have the chance to enjoy, discover and share poetry. In encouraging people to turn their attention to place and to nature – and to turn that attention into a poem – this competition is a great creative spur.  When you look closely at any aspect of the natural world – from a spider to a mountain – you learn to tune your senses, the first task of a poet. We are proud to be associated with this competition and with work of the Rialto, the RSPB and the great poet Michael Longley.”

Find out how you can take part in National Poetry Day:

@PoetryDayUK #NationalPoetryDay on social media.

Entering The Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2018 couldn’t be simpler. You can find out everything you need to know about submitting your poems on The Rialto’s website:

The closing date for the competition is midnight on 1 March 2018.

For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Rupert Masefield, RSPB Communications Officer: 01603 697595 Mob: 07872 814878