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Primers: Volume Four Mentoring and Publication Scheme Open for Entries

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press are excited to announce that Primers Volume Four is now open for entries.

Primers is an annual mentoring and publication scheme organised by the Poetry School and Nine Arches Press. It provides a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion.

The three selected poets will receive mentoring from poet Kim Moore, author of The Art of Falling and winner of the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, editorial support from Nine Arches Press editor and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Jane Commane, and publication in Primers Volume Four, followed by a programme of readings and launches.

There are up to 25 free entries available for writers who would not otherwise be able to afford to enter.

The judges are poet Kim Moore and editor Jane Commane.

Kim Moore’s first full-length collection The Art of Falling was published by Seren in 2015 and was awarded the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.  Her poem ‘In That Year’ from the collection was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Published Poem. She won a Northern Writers Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2010.  Her pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, and went on to be shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award and named in The Independent as a Book of the Year.  Her work has been translated into several languages including Croatian, Macedonian, Dutch, Spanish, Icelandic and Polish.  She is currently a PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University and is working on her second collection.

Founded in 2008, Nine Arches Press aim to present the best of contemporary poetry and give a platform to interesting new voices. We pride ourselves on working closely with poets to mentor, support and develop their writing, and valuing and encouraging new and existing readers of poetry too.

The Poetry School is a national arts organisation providing inspiring tuition and opportunities for poets and poetry audiences. With established teaching centres throughout England as well as online courses, development opportunities, and the world’s largest social network dedicated to poetry – CAMPUS – we are unique in our ability to reach and develop aspiring poets wherever they may be.

Click here to enter Primers Volume Four. 


Submission Rules


This opportunity is open to anyone aged 16 or over (at the time of submitting their poems) writing in English and who is resident in the UK except:

  • Poets who have already published a full-length collection in the UK
  • Permanent or contract employees of the Poetry School or Nine Arches Press and their families. People who have taught for the Poetry School are eligible to submit.
  • Poets with books or pamphlets previously published by Nine Arches


  • All submissions must be written in English and be the original work of the poet. Translations are not eligible.
  • Please do not enter poems in the initial submission which have been previously published in any form (in print or online), or are currently submitted elsewhere.
  • Please do not enter poems in the initial submission which have previously won a competition or have been submitted and are under consideration for any competition or prize.
  • If shortlisted, and poems in your Primers submission are subsequently published or placed or commended in a competition between the Primers submission deadline and the Primers publication date, your Primers submission will be disqualified.

How To Enter

  • Submission is via Submittable only:
  • You will need to set up a free Submittable account to submit. If you are unable to use Submittable due to accessibility issues, please contact the Poetry School.
  • You may submit any number of times.
  • A maximum of 6 poems should be included in your initial submission.
  • Each submission should have a title. Please give the name of your submission and the name of your document the same title. Use specific not generic titles (i.e. ‘A Bag of Tricks’ not ‘Primers Submission’). Do not include your name in either the file name or the title of your submission.
  • All submissions should be formatted for printing on A4 paper and must be typed, 12pt, Times New Roman. Each poem should begin on a separate sheet of paper and the total initial submission of six poems should not exceed 10 pages.
  • Submissions should be formatted as PDFs or .doc or .docx Word documents.
  • Submissions are read anonymously in the first round. You will be asked to include your name and details via the Submittable link, but these will not be sent to the editors in the first round of selection. Each page of your submission should include the title of your submission, but not your own name or other personal identification details.
  • No alterations can be made to poems after submission. Shortlisted poets should not make changes to their original submissions when submitting their additional poems for selection.


  • All submissions will be read by Jane Commane and the Poetry School. They will choose up to 100 submissions to pass on to judge Kim Moore, who – along with Jane Commane – will select the shortlist.
  • Shortlisted poets will be notified by 1st September 2018. The shortlist will appear on the Poetry School website.
  • Shortlisted poets will be asked to submit by email a further selection of 14 additional poems as well as the poems they submitted originally.
    If shortlisted, up to 5 of your additional poems may previously have been published or won competitions.

Submission Fee and Closing Date

  • The cost of submission is £15 per submission of up to 6 poems. This will support the programme of development including mentoring and editing that the three selected poets will receive from Nine Arches and The Poetry School.
  • Payment is made via Submittable.
  • The submission fee is non-refundable.
  • Submissions without the required payment in full will be disqualified.
  • The closing date is 22nd July 2018. All submissions must be received by 11pm BST on 22nd July 2018.
  • We recommend you enter early, as we may not be able to provide technical support at the last minute.
  • The editors’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

Free Entries for Low-Income Writers

  • There are up to 25 free entries available for writers in receipt of any of the following: Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, or income-related ESA.
  • Applicants should email a photograph or scan of a recent letter or other proof of eligibility to [email protected].
  • Applicants should attach their poems in a single PDF document (following the guidelines above) to the same email.
  • Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 25 eligible entries.
  • Please only apply for free entry if you would not otherwise be able to enter.

Final Selection

  • The editors will select three poets from the shortlist who will receive mentoring and editorial support leading to publication by Nine Arches Press in the annual Primers series.
  • Selected poets must be able to make themselves available for mentoring and editorial workshops either online or in person, with dates by arrangement.
  • Copyright remains with the poet, although the organisers reserve the right to use the winning collection and any related material for publicity and marketing purposes.
  • Whilst the poet will retain copyright of the poems, the design and layout of the winning published collection will remain with Nine Arches Press. Nine Arches Press will retain the right to publish additional print and digital editions of the book and individual poems.
  • Selected poets will be given ten free books each, plus a 50% discount on purchasing any further copies.
  • Selected poets will need to sign a publishing contract with Nine Arches Press for legal and copyright purposes.
  • Winning poets should be prepared to make themselves available for promotional performances and events in Spring 2019, unless prevented by personal circumstances.
  • Poets with disabilities, please note that we will ensure performances are accessible and inclusive.
  • If in the unlikely event that in the Editors’ opinion no submissions merit selection, then the organisers reserve the right not to select.
  • The organisers reserve the right to alter these rules at any time.
  • Entry indicates an acceptance of these rules. Submissions failing to meet all of these rules will be disqualified.

Dates to remember

  • Submission deadline: 22nd July 2018
  • Shortlist announced: 1st September
  • Deadline for additional submissions by shortlisted writers: 10th September
  • Final selection announced: 1st October 2018
  • Publication of Primers Volume Four: April 2019


Click here to enter Primers Volume Four. 




  • Michelle Wareham

    Hi Poetry School, Nine Arches Press

    I am really quite interested in applying to be part of Primers Volume Four Mentoring and Publishing Scheme – in fact, I’ve studied under Kim Moore and the Poetry School before, many years ago, The Act Of Transformation thru Ovid.

    I hope you can answer a few questions for me. I’m quite ill and wheelchair bound so I hope you can help:

    Is it okay to make myself available for courses online only and then what time of day will they occur?

    And, will performances be scheduled on weekdays/weekends and will they be based UK-wide?

    I rely on my husband, you see, so can only go somewhere if he’s available.

    Thanks so much and hope you can reply to [email protected]

    I am busiyily getting 6 poems ready for you to enter.

    Thanking you,

    Michelle Wareham

    • Ali Lewis

      Hi Michelle. I’ll reply fully to your email, but yes: the mentoring can be online only. The launch events are arranged around the selected poets, so they could be scheduled for a day/date that works.

  • Stephanie Green

    Hi, re initial 6 submission. Can they be poems that have previously been submitted (not currently) and that have been placed or commended (but not published)?

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