Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition

Five Words Poetry Competition
January 20th – 27th 2015
(Final week to enter!)

illuminate   brace   wheel   jellyfish   equator


Competition Overview

Each Tuesday before midday (GMT), from the 15th of April 2014, five words will be posted on this competition page. Entrants will have one week to compose and submit poems that must include all five words given for that week.

At noon the following Tuesday, these words will no longer be eligible, and replaced with five new words. The competition will run for a total of forty-one weeks, until the last week of January 2015.


A prize of 500 euros will be awarded to one winner, and if available, invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s eighth anniversary event on Monday 13th of April, 2015 (an additional travel fee of 100 euro plus B&B accommodation will be provided for this). The shortlisted poems and winning entry will also be published in Five Words Vol VIII – the next annual anthology of five word poems, launched at the same event.

This year’s judges are Billy Ramsell and Jennifer Matthews. A shortlist of twelve poems including the overall winner will be announced during the first week of March, 2015.

The five words offered each week for 2014-15 are sourced from the audiences of the second year of fifty Five Word Challenges held each Monday evening during 2008-9 at Ó Bhéal – with a selection of extra words added due to deletion of duplicates, etc. They are then randomly selected from this list.

Submission Guidelines

Download your submission form here.

Entry is open to all countries. Poems cannot exceed 50 lines in length (including line breaks), and must include all five words listed during this week. A modicum of poetic license is acceptable. As long as the original spelling is intact within your syntax, you’re welcome to pluralise, join or even split the word to form two adjoining words. There is no limit on submission quantities, although each payment and submission will need to be made separately. Entries to be sent no later that 12pm on Tuesday.

Submissions carry a 5 euro entrance fee.

Payment should be made via this paypal button before continuing.

Once payment is made, please copy your poem into the completed submission form (one poem per form), and email to

fivewords [at] obheal.ie

or by post (postmarked by Tuesday at latest) to:

Ó Bhéal Five Words Poetry Competition
c/o: The Long Valley
Winthrop St

For postal entries, please print out and complete the submission form, and post together with your attached poem (in which nothing other than the title and poem appear). As is usual practice, all entires are logged and numbered by our allocated filter programmers so that judges cannot see the names of the entrants. Email entries should be sent via the email address given above, not via the submissions [at] obheal [dot] ie email link on the home page, which is only for non-competition entries, written and performed live during each Monday evening event – from words offered up in random by the audience.

Best of Luck!