I actually think competition is good for poets. From ancient days of yore when Greeks competed for laurel crowns right on through to today's poets trying for the most "likes" on social media, competition can be like electricity -- a source of fuel and excitement to keep you moving.
Competitors are mentors.
On the other hand, if you take it too far, you can crash and burn.
So how can you tell when competition is healthy? Here's a few good signs:
1) You're inspired to write a lot. Not just about poetry, but actual poems.
2) You get excited when you see a new poem by your competitor (s).
3) You accept that you probably can't better what the competitor does best.
4) You integrate as much as you can from the competition even if it means doing away with some of your most treasured habits and riffs.
5) You feel or see a path forward for your own work and feel that you have energy for the journey.
Now here are signs competition is getting to you:
1) You naysay your competitor's work.
2) You feel you've been treated "unfairly" by life, or readers, or publishers.
3) You refuse to edit, change, or revise your work.
4) You dig up old works that you feel never got their just due and wave them around even if no-one seems interested in them.
5) You have problems sleeping or concentrating on your work because you're busy trying to cut your competition down to size in your imagination, or dream up compensatory strengths for yourself.
In any case, the point where you no longer feel the least bit competitive is when you'll probably start to lose interest in creating new things. Or you may just start repeating yourself. Competition keeps us fresh and "young" and, well, no matter how good you get -- you can always find someone to envy!
Click the pic above to read about a very famous poetry competition!