Poetry of Science

Entries for IF Oxford’s poetry competition for young people are now open for 2023

Can you write a terrific scientific poem? IF Oxford is seeking budding poets aged 5 – 16 years to become wondrous wordsmiths and enter the seventh annual Poetry of Science competition this spring.

Finalists in the three age categories will take centre stage and perform their poems as part of the science and ideas Festival in October 2023.

Who can enter?

The competition is open to any child in the UK, aged 16 or under and will be judged in three age categories:

  • Age 5 – 7
  • Age 8 – 11
  • Age 12 – 16

Entries can be made through your school, or individually, with your parent / guardian’s consent. Please make sure your entry form has contact details for either your teacher or parent / guardian.


What can I win?

The winning poet and two runners up from each age category will:

  • have poems published in a special Festival anthology
  • attend a celebratory event in Oxford in October
  • perform poems in front of a live audience
  • meet professional poets
  • receive prizes including poetry books and science kits


What sort of poem can I write?

Your poem should be a maximum of 150 words and can be in any poetry style you like and doesn’t have to rhyme. How about trying one of these poem types:

  • limerick
  • haiku
  • acrostic poem
  • rap
  • sonnet

Your poem should have something to do with science and great ideas. It could be about:

  • a scientific idea or discovery
  • a science lesson or experiment
  • a scientific issue that is important to you

Science is important in all of our lives and can benefit:

  • Animal and plants
  • Climate and nature
  • The food we eat
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Sustainability & recycling

Every year, the judges get to read hundreds of superb entries about all of these topics and more, so get your imagination fired up and create your own poem to be in the running for some great prizes!


Who are the judges?

Niall Munro is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre (http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/), which runs events in and around Oxford for everyone interested in poetry, including writing workshops, poetry readings, a poetry press called ignitionpress, and an international poetry competition. Niall teaches and writes about all kinds of poetry and literature, but his main area of expertise is American writing of the twentieth century.

Claire Hamnett is a physics teacher at Oxford Spires Academy, Specialist Leader in Education and leader of the Oxfordshire Science Learning Partnership, the local branch of STEM Learning which works with primary and secondary teachers to achieve a world-leading Science education for young people.


What else do I need to know?

To submit an individual entry, simply click the yellow ‘Enter the 2023 poetry competition‘ button below to open the online entry form and submit by the deadline of Monday 1 May 2023.

Entries are limited to one poem per child.

Your poems and the Poetry of Science project form an important part of IF Oxford. The authors of the poems become the youngest presenters at the Oxford science and ideas Festival and their work is published in an anthology. Poems can be inspired by other poetry, but must be original work because all entries are covered by the IF Oxford Contributor Policy terms and conditions.

Enter the 2023 poetry competition

Teachers / community group leaders wishing to submit multiple entries can download a multiple entries cover sheet to email along with your class / group entries to cathy@if-oxford.com

Download multiple entries cover sheet for teachers / community group leaders

You can help spread the word about the competition by displaying a poster in your school or youth club, or on social media

Download poster

Need inspiration?

Read the collections of poems from past Poetry of Science winners. Your poem could be in the 2023 anthology!

2022 anthology

2021 anthology

2020 anthology

2019 anthology  

2018 anthology

2017 anthology















We are grateful to the following for supporting this competition: