Win your flash poem on a £100 National Book Token

You're invited to our flash poetry competition for National Poetry Day!

Do you scribble sonnets in your spare time? Are you partial to a bit of rhyme? Or do you want to start writing but don’t know how?  

To celebrate National Poetry Day on 4th October, we're giving one lucky Caboodler the chance to win a gorgeous £100 personalised National Book Token featuring their poem, as judged by poets Kate Clanchy and Joseph Coelho.

The winner will also get a box of new poetry worth £300, including The Forward Book of Poetry 2019, which brings together the best contemporary poetry in the UK.

Quick! Send us your poem before midnight on 7th October*. 

This competition has now ended.


We received more than 2,500 wonderful flash poems for our National Poetry Day competition and we're delighted to announce that the winner is... Alison Jacobs from Lincoln!

Kate Clanchy said: "I like the barcode image inserted in the romantic landscape. It isn’t just a clear analogy. It refreshes our view and takes us inside the poet’s twenty-first century mind- a real flash of insight".

Alison has won her poem on a £100 National Book Token and a bundle of poetry books. Congratulations!

Why not give someone the gift of your poem on a National Book Token?

Team National Book Tokens also loved reading all your flash poems. Here are a few of our favourites:

Piccasso's Wife. Some people look better painted blue she mused. Leaving the bed or kitchen with a lopsided smile. - Kathryn

Send me a love poem, she typed with a wink. I found this one, he said, just open the link. - Aimee

At her funeral I wear something fitting... a jumper with one sleeve, the last thing she was knitting. - Tracy

About the Judges

Kate Clanchy was born and grew up in Scotland. She is a writer in several genres, and has won the BBC National Short Story Award for her fiction, a Forward Prize and the Saltire Prize for her poetry, and the Writers’ Guild Award for her much acclaimed memoir Antigona and Me. She is the Writer in Residence at Oxford Spires Academy, working with pupils on poetry. A collection of their poetry, edited by Kate, has been published entitled England: Poems from a School.

Joseph Coelho is a performance poet and playwright. He has been a guest poet on Radio 4's Front Row and performed poems for Channel 4 and CBeebies Radio. His debut poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules is published by Frances Lincoln and won the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award 2015 amd his most recent collection Overheard in a Tower Block was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador.

A flash course in flash poetry from Kate Clanchy

Lots of the best poems in the world are very short. They light up your mind in a flash, and give you an image which shows what the poet sees and feels. 12-year-old Mohamed Assaf's poem, left, perfectly sums up the feeling of loss.

Try making your own memorable image. Remember your five senses and list them down a page. Now write down the name of a favourite place, and note down what it smells, tastes and sounds of; what it feels and looks like. Avoid abstract big words and long adjectives. Try the same exercise with the name of a friend, or an idea like ‘hope’ or ‘nationhood’. One of these lists will be your poem – look for the oddest one, the one that sounds most like you.

Terms and Conditions

1 x winner whose poem is chosen by Kate Clanchy and Joseph Coelho will win a £100 National Book Token featuring their poem (max. 20 words), or €100 standard National Book Token if based in Ireland, plus a box of new poetry collections, featuring:

The Forward Book of Poetry 2019
Bad Kid Catullus edited Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving
Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird 
A Watchful Astronomy by Paul Deaton
Blotter Oli by Hazzard
Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
On Fathers On Daughtyrs by Tim Atkins
Fourth Person Singular by Nuar Alsadir
Love in Another Language by Dick Davis 
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon
Feature and Bone by Ruth Carr
Unearthly Toys by Ned Denny
The Goldsmith's Apprentice by Keith Chandler
Seeing Yellow by Eva Bourke
Given Light by Michael Coady
Anecdotal Evidence by Wendy Cope
Angel Hill by Michael Longley
Glenn Gould's Chair by Mandy Khan
Sarajevo Roses by Rory Waterman
The Divining Pool by Amanda Merritt
Homesick at Home by Kate O'Shea
MacSonnetries by Petra Reid
Coteries by Prudence Bussey-Chamberlain
Did You Put the Weasels Out? by Niall Bourke
The Scar on the Cloud by David Erdos
Stone.Bread.Salt by Norbert Hirschhorn
Kingdom of Gravity by Nick Makoha
Weemoed by Tim Dooley
The Last Straw by Tom French
Remains to be Seen by David Rushmer

Please note: *The competition entrant must be aged 16 or over. However, you are welcome to send in poems on behalf of younger children as long as the person submitting the entry is aged 16 or over.

  • No purchase necessary.
  • A minimum of one poem and maximum of 10 poems can be submitted per entrant.
  • The prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. The Promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize.
  • Closing date: 11:59pm, Sunday 7th October 2018.
  • The competition is open to UK and Republic of Ireland residents except employees of the Booksellers Association and Book Tokens Ltd., and employees of participating bookshops.
  • Entrants must be aged 16 or over.
  • Entrants can submit poems on behalf of those under the age of 16.
  • Entrants agree to Book Tokens Ltd. using their details in post-competition publicity. Your details will not be used for any other purpose, or passed onto any third parties, unless specified. Winners' details may be shared securely with a third-party in order to fulfil the dispatch of competition prizes.
  • We will contact winners by email. In the event of a winner not responding after 14 days, we reserve the right to allocate the prize to another winner.
  • The promoters' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  • Book Tokens Ltd. will only use your email address and other personal information as outlined in our privacy policy.
  • Promoter: Book Tokens Ltd, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR.
Our latest competitions

Our latest competitions

Don't miss out on this month's giveaways! Win signed books, National Book Tokens, and even more fantastic prizes for book lovers.

Our latest competitions
Caboodlers' Corner

Caboodlers' Corner

Browse quizzes, reading lists, and recommendations from our guest booksellers.

Caboodlers' Corner
National book token cookie themed gift card

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single visitor in possession of a good website, must be in want of a cookie."
Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austen

We use cookies to make our website work, understand how visitors use our website, and display relevant marketing to you.