Poetry Competition

Thomas Gray Anniversary – Poetry Competition

Theme: ‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen’

This is the third and final of three poetry competitions organised by The Stoke Poges Society as one of several events celebrating the tercentenary of Gray’s birth.


For the 2016 competition, the entries to the Open Class will be judged by the poet Daljit Nagra, whose debut poetry collection Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the South Bank Show Decibel Award. In October 2015, Daljit was appointed the inaugural Poet in Residence for BBC Radio 4. 

The School Class, open to students in full-time education, will be judged by Michael Meredith who for many years taught English at Eton College where Gray was a pupil in the 18th century. Michael later became College Librarian when he developed their Thomas Gray collection. He is currently Curator of Eton’s Modern Collections but continues his main interest in Robert Browning and is general editor of the OUP edition of Browning’s poetic works. 

General Rules

  • The closing date is midnight, Friday 24 June 2016.
  • Entries can be made online via www.thomasgray2016.org (scroll down for submission form).
  • Online entries will receive confirmation of receipt by email.
  • Online payment can be made by PayPal.
  • Entries can also be sent to the following address:

The Stoke Poges Society, c/o The Firs, Farthing Green Lane, Stoke Poges,      Bucks, SL2 4JQ. Please mark your envelope “Poetry Competition”.

If you would like confirmation of postal entry receipt, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

  • International entries can only be accepted online with payment through PayPal.
  • Sterling cheques should be made payable to The Stoke Poges Society.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries a single entrant can make provided the appropriate fee is paid.
  • The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor the Stoke Poges Society will enter into any correspondence.

Rules: Poems

Poems submitted should in some way be a response to the line and context from Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard – ‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen’.

There is no restriction to form or metre.

Poems should have a title and not exceed 40 lines.

All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.

Please make sure your name and contact details are given separately from your poem.

Please advise how you heard about the Poetry Competition with your details.

Poems must be the original work of the entrant.

The poem should not have been previously published.

Postal entries should be typed in black ink on A4 paper.

Entries should be written in English.

Entries will not be returned.

Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.

Open Class

This class is open to anyone aged 18 years or over on the date of submission.

Each entry must be accompanied by a fee of £5 for the first and £3 for each subsequent poem.

Three prizes will be awarded of £250, £100 and £60. Also, there will be up to three highly commended entries awarded £30.

School Class

This class is open to anyone in full-time school education on the date of submission.

There is no entry fee for entries in this class for UK residents in full-time school or college education.

With the writer’s details, please also include age on 24 June 2016 and name and address of school or college.

Three prizes will be awarded of £50, £30, and £20.

Also, the schools of the three winning entrants will each receive a £50 book token.

Rules: Winners

Results will be announced on 5 August 2015 – the anniversary of Thomas Gray’s burial in St Giles’ Churchyard.

Writers of the winning entries will be invited to an Award Ceremony to be held in St. Giles’ Church, Stoke Poges on Thursday 22 September 2016.

Copyright of each poem remains with the author, but winners grant the Stoke Poges Society the right to publish their poem e.g. on its website during the three years and until 2020.


For further information or questions, please email: competition

Online Entry (Open Class)

Please enter your details in the contact form below.

Clicking ‘submit’ will take you to Paypal where you should calculate and enter the appropriate fee for your entry. After completing your payment, you will receive an acknowledgment by email and Paypal will return you to this site.

Please email your competition entries to competition using the email account that you use to make your Paypal payment (to assist us in reconciling entries and payments.


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