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Primers Volume 3: A Mentoring and Publication scheme – Now Open for Entries

The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press are delighted to announce the arrival of Primers 3, the third year of our scheme which creates a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion. The scheme will select three poets whose work will feature together in Primers Volume 3, a book showcasing short debut collections of work.

The Primers scheme provides an important platform for emerging poets who are seeking to develop their writing and build towards a full collection of poems. With the involvement of Jane Commane ( poetry editor at Nine Arches), Hannah Lowe (poet) and the Poetry School, Primers 3 will nurture and supports new talent that may otherwise not find an outlet. It also aims to provide an important opportunity for poets to develop their skills, work on their poetry practice, and find audiences for their work. Following editing and mentoring with Hannah and Jane, the Primers Volume 3 collection will be published by Nine Arches Press, and a further series of live events will showcase the three chosen poets at festivals and shows around the country.

‘The last two years of Primers has delivered us seven new voices in poetry that have been by turns surprising, playful and distinctive; we have had the huge pleasure and privilege of nurturing these talented poets with one-to-one mentoring, then sharing the resulting selection of perfectly-honed poems with our readers and audiences. The third Primers series will take us to our first ten poets, and I look forward to reading what fresh delights and surprises this new round brings. Submitting to Primers couldn’t be simpler, all we ask it that you send us six of your very best poems! Who knows, it could be your name up in lights in 2018…’

Jane Commane, Nine Arches Press

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 (Individuals 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 and under consideration for publication.
  • Please do not enter poems in the initial submission which have previously won a competition or have been submitted and 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.
  • If shortlisted, up to 25% of your full submission may contain poems previously published or poems that have previously won competitions.


  • Submission is via the online Submittable link:
  • 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.
  • Postal entries will not be accepted. This is to keep administration costs to a minimum so that we can invest the maximum resources into the selected poets.
  • You may submit any number of times.
  • A maximum of 6 poems should be submitted initially. 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 (ie ‘A Bag of Tricks’ not ‘Primers 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. Your poem sheets should include the name of your submission and the individual poem titles, but not your own name of 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.

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 8 September 2017. All submissions must be uploaded to Submittable must be received by 11pm BST on 8 September 2017.
  • The Editors’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.


  • All submissions will be read by Jane Commane and Poetry School selectors who will pick 100 submissions from which the longlist and shortlist will be selected by Jane and Hannah Lowe.
  • Shortlisted poets will be notified by the end of October 2017. 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 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.

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 series, ‘Poetry School & Nine Arches Press present Primers: Debut Poetry Shorts’.
  • 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 a 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 2018, unless prevented by personal circumstances.
  • Poets with disabilities, please note that we will ensure performances are accessible and inclusive.

Dates to remember

  • Submission deadline: 8 September 2017
  • Shortlist announced: late October 2017
  • Final selection announced: late November 2017
  • Publication of Primers Volume 23: April 2018

Submit here

Submissions will be open from 21 June 2017


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