Poetry Contests have sprung up like wildfire around the internet. And why not? It's a fun way to test your skill at poetry writing.
There are poetry contests that are judged by a few people at a time. They assign the poem points. The poem with the most points wins. Seems simple enough and it's a good strategy.
What they don't tell you is what they're looking for. Let's face it. Poetry contests are biased. And that's a matter of fact. After all, you're being judged by people predisposed to a certain way of writing. If they like it, it passes the test. If not, it's put away and quickly forgotten.
Having said this, a good way to win poetry contests is to find out what the editors are looking for. They're probably not going to tell you. You must read the kind of poems they like (or find out someway) then tailor your work towards that end.
I know it's not the most "artsy" thing to do. You have your integrity and special way of writing. And the poetry contest editors also have their way of reading and judging what they think is a "good" poem. Once you understand that it's not about you or your poetry but what that particular editor's bias is, you're on your way to winning.
In fact, it may be more important to get a feel for what the judges consider to be "good" than actually submitting what you think is your best work. Remember, what's best is in the mind of the beholder. You don't have to sell out or even think you are selling out to win poetry contests. On the contrary, look at it as a game and you'll be way ahead of your competition!