Each year the theme is chosen with the intention of giving entrants free rein to interpret it as widely as they like.
Over the years since 2001 the themes have been:
Blue – Floods – Passport – Early Morning – Gravity – A Building – Flight – Change – Doubt – Promises – Simplicity – Voyages – The Details – News – Cells – Wonder – Stone
The competition is judged anonymously by two judges, who are different each year, and Peter McDonald, the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, University of Oxford.
Winners and Winning Schools
There have been over 100 winners (to 2017) representing 90+ schools – new schools and colleges take part each year and all entries are welcomed. Winners and their guests are invited to come to a lunchtime awards ceremony in Oxford in the Spring. As well as the prize money, eligible winners are invited to attend the Tower Poetry Summer School and winning schools also receive cash prizes. A collection of all the previous winning poems can be found here.