Jack Clemo Poetry Competition 2020

Jack Clemo Poetry Competition 2020

The ACG is proud to announce the 2020 Jack Clemo Poetry Competition;


Every two years, the ACG holds a poetry competition in memory of the deaf and blind Cornish poet Jack Clemo, who was a member of the ACG until his death in 1994.  A bequest was left to the ACG and was used to commission a sculpture from fellow ACG member Iain Cotton, made from Cornish stone, which is held by the winner of the competition.

Jack Clemo, ‘Poet of the Clay’, was one of Britain’s foremost poets.  Labelled ‘one of the most original writers of our time’  by the Sunday Times, his work combined an uncompromising Christian mysticism with stark images of the working-class Cornwall he loved so much.



The competition attracts entries from around the UK. The primary aim is to encourage the writing of better and better poetry and to raise its profile at the forefront of artistic forms.  In addition to holding the sculpture for one year the winner will receive a top prize of £250  which we aim to present at a prestigious Arts event later in 2020.



This year’s theme is ‘Lockdown’, and you can address the theme from whichever angle you choose  –  maybe in terms of the prevailing situation here and throughout the world with themes of isolation, confinement or acts of human kindness and compassion in strange times, and the inspiration of individuals such as Colonel Tom Moore, going “above and beyond”.  In a wider context you may wish to focus on prisoners of conscience, people denied freedom of expression, governments that deny those liberties we take for granted, or maybe an illness that confines. You may have personal experience of powerlessness as the developing global situation locks you in and locks you down.

There is no maximum length, but your poem must be a minimum length of 16 lines.  We only accept original works, and none which have won other competitions or that have been previously published or broadcast in all forms of media. Up to three poems per person may be entered.



Entry fees are £10 per poem for adults, or £5 per poem for students and unwaged. For an additional fee you can request an assessment of your entry by a professional writer.

To request an entry form please email  competitions@artscentregroup.org.uk

Closing date for entries is 30 November 2020.