£1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition

£1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition

This project is now closed!

"What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?"

The new Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen

Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen dramatically changed propaganda-fuelled public perceptions of the First World War with their poetry portraying the real horrors of mustard gas and trench warfare.

One hundred years on, where are the new war poets and what do they have to tell us? As the world premiere stage adaptation of Pat Barker’s Regeneration, which tells the story of Sassoon and Owen, prepares to embark on a national tour, producers have teamed up with Theatre Cloud to launch a major poetry competition.

Following a pilot phase, this War Poetry for Today officially launches on 4 August 2014, 100 years on from the day that Britain declared war on Germany in World War One, and continues until 28 November 2014, when three winning poems will be announced and read at the penultimate performance of Regeneration at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

This project needs you!

Today, we're inundated with images of conflict, disseminated instantaneously by the media and online. In the First World War, there were only 16 official photographers amongst the Allied troops, images and all correspondence were highly restricted and censored and took months to appear in the public domain.

Both Sassoon and Owen served in the war – they met while being treated for “shell shock” (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder) in Craiglockhart Hospital in Scotland, where much of the play is set – and Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918, just one week before the Armistice was signed. 

The call is out for you to write POETRY ABOUT WAR and BECOME A WAR POET OF TODAY. We want your response to images of War in poetry. We are looking for the war poets of TODAY.

  • If you have experienced war - can you share your experiences with us in words...in poetry?
  • If you have only looked at images of war - can you share your feelings about seeing those images - your thoughts and feelings about war?


Three prizes and public readings...

Regeneration premieres on 2 September (previews from 29 August) at the Theatre Royal, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September and then tours to nine further regional theatres until 29 November.

At each tour stop, Theatre Cloud and the Regeneration cast will shortlist their favourite poems from recent submissions, and actors from the play – including Tim Delap and Garmon Rhys, who star as Sassoon and Owen – will perform filmed readings at the theatres. These videos are available to watch every week here

In the final week of the tour, the shortlisted poems will be reviewed by an expert panel. The author of the most powerful poem selected by the judges will receive a grand prize of £500. Judges will also choose a runner-up, who will win £250. A third prize of £250 will be awarded to the poem that’s most popular with audiences online. 

Check out the shortlist so far or scroll down to read all submissions to date...


Get Involved


Check out the shortlist so far or scroll down to read all submissions to date...


View submissions


Submissions are currently closed


A Different War
By Duncan Cassidy

Jangling, flashing lights, what next? What for? Inbred tortured minds, heroes or villains. Striving, plotting their next move.   High alerts, bandits, bombs, nothing safe. New measures, hard lines,…

Waterloo Bridge
By cathy keal

So still, she stands by the river, in a snow flurry studying many dendrites, as clouds begin to fall.   Graupel, pellets, plates and columns dropping, each show a difference in a cold winter squall.…

Flanders Field
By Cathy Keal

Remember our soldiers down the trench, They talked of the bitter cold and stench, Hear the ringing of a barbed wire fence, Pop cried, his whole platoon went west.   Each grave belongs to a parents’…

Death's Smile
By The White Crow

Thin lipped, pale faced, wind passing through his haggard hair with barely opened eyes he saw the dead whom hadn't said their goodbyes. He saw the torn fields, and the ruptured ruined remains of houses,…

A Poppy to show I care
By Eleanor Brimelow

A thousand plates of blood red ceramics grow From the grounds of a dead King's Tower Glow in nightly visions of winter light For tourists to click and capture, Poppies to show they care.   And…

Private Harry Tandey
By Andrew Millican

Private Harry Tandey The hammer falls, the auctioneer shouts SOLD! The widow, German born, is moved to tears that valour is beyond the price of gold.   Changing times grow stranger as the years drive…

Shell shock
By Chardonay Mcgow

Shell shock. Being gassed, shot; anything but shell shock. I have to live with it. People will laugh; I'll stay strong. I'll fight it till I fall, I'll try to stay tall. I don't care about…

Death, no life
By Oliver Browning

Bombs, guns, everywhere. Death, no life! Blood and guts. Running through No Man's Land Nowhere to hide Though poppies shall stand tall My friends will fall.

good in war
By zara hardy

There is no good in war, thers no winners There is just pain in war, caused by sinners The nights are cold the days are dark, look around and see spark. As the plains go by we run and hide, while others…

He Knocks On Heaven's Door
By Sobia Naseer

Standing on the edge of death, he knocks on Heaven's door. "Let me in!" "Let me in!" he weeps, "before I stumble and fall." His tired and wounded body, longs to succumb…

By Kai Mbeki

No time to dig a hole six feet deep.   I scramble, I struggle, I weep and I writhe,   The reaper has come brandishing his scythe.   Trapped!!!   Eyes glassy, with a face of distain,…

War is for nothing (peace is needed)
By Connor Moore

We are born to live in harmony and friendship, not to be torn apart by the horror of war, being stunned in and out of life. Are the politicians who send us to war trying to end human life? War is pointless…

By Kasey Pyne

Soldier's hearts pounding, shaking with fear, going out where the bombs are near. Are they going to survive? Knowing that in two or three minutes, or even seconds; you might not be akive.   War…

I Have Killed
By Monty Joynes

I have killed opposition soldiers and made widows and orphans in places I cannot name.   I have killed and been awarded silver citations for valor that I cannot claim.   I have killed one generation…

By Rebecca NS

Yes, I remember the gunshots, The flying turf and empty shells Of men with strained breathing and wild eyes, Spying for ghosts of those who fell   On the ground to the endless drum Beat of bullets…

To the Vietnam War...
By Cherith Wright

Setting off to Vietnam Feeling proud, feeling strong But then I see the fear in another soldier's eyes I should turn around, go home I have made one friend We both feel the same The fear inside hurts…

The Silenced Voice
By Yousuf Zubair

The Silenced Voice   I am the silenced voice Of those who have no choice, but to suffer in pain Everyday blood falls like rain In dark symphonies of death, as people are slain   I am the silenced…

By Charlotte Wade

Saudade   I remember The dipping snowdrops Resting on your palm In the gardens.   I remember The taste of summer.   I remember Waking in an empty room To find an envelope Wet with condensation…

By Matthew Dobson

Skulls Whose skull extruded filth onto this rock,  This rock half-veined by quartz?  Not his. His gurgling lungs are wrecked,  The plaque that coats  His gums, his veins, has thickened,…

Just for Now
By Alice Potter

Just for now the world is silent. Only the early morning birds begin to fill the summer air with song. Dawn rises up, taking its time. Lightening glow of rose pink, violet, purple and orange fire. The…