For adult contests, the OPA defines “published” as follows:
Appeared in a print or online journals, whether for pay or not.
50 or more printed copies of an individual poem or collection of poems distributed, whether free or not, except for teaching material handouts.
Any number of reproduced single poems or booklets, if they are for sale.
Duplicated in any fashion for a public “installation,” such as an art exhibit, or sculpture, where they are available for public viewing either temporarily or permanently.
Posted on blogs or other online sites that solicit such work for open viewing.
Posted to websites other than the author’s (again, for open rather than private viewing)
Poems considered not published:
Included in teaching material handouts.
Posted on personal websites, Facebook pages, author’s personal blogs, and online critique groups.
Video or audio recorded at readings or workshops for documentation purposes.
Fewer than 50 poems distributed for free in printed form.
Generally, public performance of a poem does not constitute publication, even if paid.
Note: This is an evolving set of criteria, and is not meant to be exhaustive. We welcome suggestions from OPA members, and questions about individual situations.
These criteria are specific to OPA contests. When submitting to other venues, always check their submission guidelines.
OPA considers “New Poets” to be poets who have never received a first, second, or third place, or a cash prize, for a poem.