The Poetry Kit
HOME POETRY KIT COURSES SUBMISSIONS CITN NEWSLETTER BOOKSHOP BLOG
POETRY KIT COMPETITION RESULTS
THE POETRY KIT SPRING COMPETITION 2019I am pleased to announce the results of the Poetry Kit Spring Competition. Congratulations to those listed below and commiserations if your poem was notchosen on this occasion. The standard was very high and choosing between poems was once again a very difficult task the winner though was engaging andevocative to such an extent that it resonated for a long while after it was read, and in the end it was this quality that won the competition. (Jim Bennett) The winning poem The Light Fandango by Ronnie Goodyer 2nd Place To a Point on the Horizon by Francis York Commended poems (in no particular order) X Marks the Spot M. Valentne Williams Journey of a Black Umbrella by Mandy Pannett My Father Says by M V Williams Departure at 66 Street by Jason Smith Box Brownie by Sheila Donald Eyes of Glass by Nick Hook Duffy’s Gate by James Finnegan My Moon in Cancer by Ronnie Goodyer Palimpsest by Sara Davis Passage by Polly Giantonio The Mapmaker by Nicolette Golding Making and Wrecking. Again by Mandy PannettTHE POETRY KIT WINTER COMPETITION 2019Winner Grandma's dancing by Eleanor Scorah - Durham Runner-up Best Friends by Jess Tucker Boyd - London Commended All That Jazz by Lauren Colley Nebulous by Andy Millican Herons by Helên Thomas Bones by Amy Archer-Williams When I was Queen of Poetry by Sarah Lewis The old line through beech woods by Lesley Burt Short listed When You’re Friends with Someone... by Carolyn Oulton Things to do after by Tim Dowley The Wardrobe by Sarah Lancaster Romania Delicate Leaves by Margaret Staniforth Orchards at Grenfell by Mandy Pannett Out of a Wall by Mandy Pannett The Cowrie Shell by Tim Taylor Wife by Noel; King Guard Llama by Allyn Alecrim - USA Brad from Joe Soaps Hand Car Wash by Roger Elkin Rocky by Julia Paillier History by David Mell The Walk at Kintsbury by Matthew Adamo Six By Six Shed by Laura Jenner The New Team by Carolyn O' Connell Travelling alone, together by Jan Harris A private view by Danny HerbertTHE POETRY KIT SUMMER COMPETITION 2018
Results Poetry Kit Summer Competition, 2018
The winning poem
Bagpuss Makes a List of Complaints by Jane Burn from County Durham, UK
Boots by Louisa Goodman from Houston, TX. USA
The other poems that made it to the shortlist are listed here and are highly commended.
Corfe Castle at sunset by Lesley Burt from Dorset, UK
Talking About Your Favourite Book by Maurice Devitt from Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Marshall by Charnjit Gill from Hayes, UK
The Woman You Never Tell, Anyone You Know by Sharmeka Victoria Hunter from Clairton PA, USA
Chromatic Cycle by Mike Jones from Wantage, UK
Apologies to Casabianca by John Lepine from Stockport, UK
A Beginners’ Guide to the Galaxy by Al Mcclimens
'To a Tortoise by Mandy Pannett from West Sussex, UK
Hats by Judith Wozniak from Fareham, UK
Selecting a winner from the entries in this year’s Summer Competition was difficult task. There were many excellent poems that even selecting a shortlist meant a lot of difficult decisions had to be made. All of the shortlisted poets engaged the reader with a strong visual element, using images to illustrate strong detail in their poetry.
The shortlisted poems were all fine pieces of work that had earned their place in the final selection. From the short list the winning poem and the runner up and commended poems were chosen and it was very difficult to decide the overall winner, but in the end it was memorable imagery and a unique approach that had made the difference. After reading the poems the winner was the poem that stayed with me. I was particularly taken by the humour and style which was engaging and memorable, but mostly it was the underlying metaphor that captured the imagination.
Bagpuss Makes a List of Complaints by Jane Burn
My Dearest Emily,
I feel I must write. Cloth jawed as I am,
my pen must do the talking. There’s got to be
something wrong with us when I only
come to life when you’re around – I am bound
by your whisperings, prisoner of your magical words
Every time you find some bit of old crap
on the street it’s all sweet talk, all wake up
and look at this thing that I bring!
What if I don’t want to be bright?
Who the hell told you I have the answer
to everything anyway? As if I’m some
giant pink oracle – I’m perfectly happy
dozing in my sepia world, but you keep
thrusting me into colour. Every time
I have a thought, there it is, large as life
inside a giant bubble – every private dream
revealed for the world to see. I can’t
keep anything to myself. Emily, it’s hard
to hear you call me Old Fat Furry Catpuss.
It’s why I don’t find the nerve to leave this shop,
why my world stays behind windows.
Come on – a shop that has no customers?
Who pays the rates? I worry about you and
your endless ‘finding’. Others might see it
as theft. You will laugh, I’m sure.
You are young and don’t know that life’s not always
going to be wicker baskets. So I let you hold me –
one day you’ll need this as much as I do now.
Wake up! For pity’s sake, wouldn’t you spend
most of your time asleep if you had to listen,
day in, day out to Professor Yaffle’s chat?
He’s a jobsworth. A know-it-all – his mind
is filled with fuss and splinters.
I am surrounded by mice I can’t eat.
Fat? No need to be so personal.
I’m just big boned. I ought to leave but I love
the way you care for broken things.THE POETRY KIT SPRING COMPETITION 2018
Pamela Danforth Yaco - Siberian Slumber
Noel King - Field
Highly Commended (in no particular order) Carolyn O'Connell - As we crossed Hungerford Bridge Jan Harris - Le Havre, 17 September 1944 Fay Roberts - Cellars Roddy Williams - post-newtonian theory Dorothy Baird - Mislaid Pauline Gould - The Executioner’s Assistant Ginna Wilkerson - Broken Gillian Penrose - From the Train Tony Peneff - Film Still Mandy Pannett - Fra Angelico tries to paint light Laura Purcell - Subjects Lesley Burt - Afternoon tea Ira Lightman – To the Bedside of the Cancerous Man Alison Whitelock - no one knows if the polar bears will eat again Stephen Beattie - Digging Up The Past Penny Drops - if i had pages just to write on Astrid Back - The Joy of Writing about Cooking Terry Jones - Ode to Swifts Jane Burn - I remember when I sang M V Williams – Aldershot Afternoons 1958
1st Place Poem
by Pamela Danforth Yaco -San Luis Obispo, California
The solitary white bear and I
pad across lichen soaked plains
me for fish
he for seal
The pleasure of salted flesh we devour
stunned, fat, our backs numb
we lie on a pane of frozen earth
the black dome above us
sprays a lavender mane of light until our eyes fill
We slip, heavy, to a cave of teared ice, frosted, soft bracken, crunch white, to cover our face from the flame he with paw, me with fleece
Our backs curl
we breathe a cloud
then we turn away
as the bear and I must do
and dream of bed
Me of yours
with its ivory pillows
the silver spirals of your hair
our rounded whispers of content
He of block ice
the splash of blue.
- THE POETRY KIT SUMMER COMPETITION 2017
- Poetry Kit Poetry Competition, Summer 2017
- Reading the entries was a real pleasure. There were many with clever use of language and strong images.
- Winning Poem
- According to Him by Terry Jones, from Carlisle
- This is a well-chosen title that is more than just a name to identify the poem in setting the tone and the role of a kind of ‘third person’ narrator. The poem flows really well, tells us something of the kind of person the ‘him’ is, and contains some wonderful images; I especially loved: ‘coronas/of moth and midge’, ‘every fox almond-eyed and bushy, red as its myth’, and: ‘fussed full of trout’.
- Highly Commended
- From Manchester to Barra by Will Daunt, Ormskirk, Lancs
- This poem was another I kept going back to. The image of pebbles in the first stanza tells so much in so few words, and follows through ‘rocks of family’ to the ‘stone’s throw’ of the final stanza. The language in places seems reminiscent of Dylan Thomas, perhaps especially in the second stanza. outstanding images; for example: ‘every fox almond-eyed and bushy, red as its myth’.
- Commended Poems
- From Barra to Vatersay by Will Daunt, Ormskirk, Lancs – this seems to be a companion piece to the highly commended poem, and is very evocative of life in a Hebridean landscape.
- Mr Cox’s Monterey Pines by Dawn Bauling, Beaworthy, Devon Ronnie Goodyer
- – this poem gives a real sense of carpe diem: how artist, photographer and poet work to capture the immediate moment.
- Another Memory of Her, by James Babbs, Stanford, Il, USA
- where a title works so well throughout the reading of the poem,
- In the wings by Adele Cordner, Magor, Monmouthshire
- for its evocative final stanza,
- Soldiers for a New Millenium by Sharyl Heber, Los Osos, CA USA
- which manipulates rhythm and language so well.
- Other shortlisted poems
- Hettie Gets Out by Janine Booth
Vogue Poetic Justice cut-up by Myrtle V
- Procrastination by Susan Donaldson
Poetry Kit Spring Poetry Competition, 2017
The winning poem,
Hate, by Julia Carlson, Cambridge, MA. USA
The rest of the poems that made it to the shortlist are listed here in alphabetical order:
Auxi Fernandez in Morgan’s Bar: by Derek Sellen, Canterbury, UK
Incarnation – Paris Siege 1870-71 by Derek Sellen, Canterbury, UK
In Memory of Two Lives by Lisa Reily, Tacoma South, NSW, Australia
Memorial Service for Dame Cecily Saunders by Elizabeth Davies, London
Nostalgia by Yasmin Roe, Coniston
Worth It by Alicia Fernández, Leeds, West
The winning poem, Hate, succeeds in conveying complex emotions that are involved in compassion where circumstances make it difficult for the narrator to really help: a ‘heavy angry sad feeling’ is made explicit as is the ‘hate’ of the title, while the poem’s tone and content also convey gentleness and provide concrete contexts for the feelings. Form, tone and style make me think of the way O’Hara can turn everyday activity into a kind of meditation, linking the immediate with other events and environments. The movement between tenses works well in achieving this.
The rest of the poems that made it to the shortlist are listed here in alphabetical order:
Auxi Fernandez in Morgan’s Bar: the poem conveys a real sense of the dancer’s movement, and I especially liked the image of ‘face halved by light’.
Incarnation – Paris Siege 1870-71: this is an intriguing topic, which reminds me of that awful saying about ‘eating the elephant a spoonful at a time’; this section stood out: ‘Two massive, wrinkled beasts/scoured by a thousand lines, as if their pencil etchings/had taken absurd mass.’
In Memory of Two Lives: the image of the ‘eye dangling and bloodied’ is startling and horribly memorable.
Memorial Service for Dame Cecily Saunders: I liked this tribute to one of the founders of palliative care and the hospice movement; the writer has neatly referred to both beginning and ending in the opening line, and circled back to that at the end with ‘The ends are yours to love now’.
Nostalgia: this is a poem with a story to tell, leaving the reader to speculate, and leading into a satisfying last line: ‘The last little piece of you gone’.
Worth It: this poem takes an image of Dr Martens boots as a metaphor for developing ways to cope with the hard knocks of life. I liked the neat pun of the ending: ‘it is worth it/in the long run.’
HATE by Julia Carlson
Today I sat on a stone bench in Harvard Square
Eating an ice cream cone
I was waiting for the #1 bus
The sun was nice and warm on my face
Eight or nine sparrows watched me
I realized they were waiting to see if
I would throw them some crumbs.
They sat unmoving, silent, not a chirp
Tilting their heads from side to side
Watching me from an angle, as birds do.
I wondered if hungry people ever watched
Customers eating at a restaurant.
I remember reading a french poem about that -
Maybe by Jacques Prevert,
A boy presses his nose against the glass
And watches the man inside eating
His croissant and drinking coffee
The boy is so hungry, his stomach hurts
And he hasn’t a sou. In the poem
The man doesn't come out of the cafe
And offer to buy him breakfast.
No he comes out of the cafe and yells at him
Get lost, you dirty kid!
Nothing for a grubby gamin running the streets
With scuffed knees and dirty fingernails.
I crumbled up the rest of the ice cream cone
To little bits & tossed them to the sparrows
Who flocked and grabbed greedily
For despite the warm sun, it was a cold day.
I do not hate those sparrows
Or that hungry, grubby kid in the poem
But I do hate the angry guy who chased him away.
I find myself hating quite a few people these days
Mostly people in our “new” government
Who have power not only over
Grubby boys and their sisters who are hungry tonight,
But over the sparrows too,
Who like bees, lizards, and turtles
Like lakes and streams
May one day disappear from the earth.
I never thought I would own hate,
But I do now and
I am not ashamed of it -
This heavy angry sad feeling
That weighs on me like a big stone
As heavy as a grubby boy
Or a small flock of sparrows.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________THE POETRY KIT SUMMER COMPETITION 2016
Winner of the Poetry Kit Summer Competition 2016
Ion Corcos – Ithaca from a Ferry
Derek Sellen – From the Inventory of the Museum of Twentieth Century Things
Oz Hardwick – Rock-a-Bye
Bethany Climpson – solar systems
Angela Rigby – Lost
A.C. Clarke – Portrait of the Author at Ten
Stuart Nunn – Severn, night, tide rising
Roger Elkin – Rock End
The results of the Poetry Kit Summer Poetry Competition
Orchard by Stuart Nunn
Stalin's cookbook by Karin van Heerden
Cwm Du by Stuart Nunn
undertow by Angela Croft
I sit with my mother by Belinda Johnston
Camlet Moat, Epitaph by Kathleen Bryson
On the Verge by Dorothy Baird
My congratulations to you all. Thanks also to everyone who entered the competition this year which drew a fine bunch of entries. My thanks also to our judge, Lesley Burt who read and re-read all entries, picking a wonderful short list and finding a deserving winner from some excellent poems.
Jim – Poetry Kit
Poetry Kit Open Poetry Competition, 2012: Judge’s Report
The winning poem, ‘Orchard’ struck me immediately, and its impact increased through several readings, on the page and aloud. The relationship between two boys – at a guess between 10 and 13 years old - is shown through skilful language as well as observable activity. The opening line:
‘Although this was my territory, my special place,’
establishes the scene where the boys begin to square up to each other: someone is intruding into established territory, and with arrogance. The verbs the poet has selected reinforce this in the language of battle and death: ‘kicked’, ‘shied’, ‘slaughtered’, ‘insisted’.
The narrative picks out just enough of the behaviour to develop the story. The wry tone seems to express remembered emotion, suggesting that this could be an important personal memory. Imagery builds the atmosphere. I especially like ‘desultory hens’, and the swashbuckling feel of ‘Stewart Granger-ed round/ the derelict swede cutter’. The lines:
‘His shout produced in me the murderer,
the acid bath, the mystery of dissolving glamour.’
cleverly evoke the way that anger that can overwhelm. Then the final line makes such a great ending, exactly right in relation to children at an age when emotion can so easily prevail over logic. This is a memorable and impressive poem.
The runner-up, ‘Stalin’s cookbook’, tells a story of a relationship through images of food and nurture. A sense of family and national history is here. There is also strong implication about the complicated feelings that suicide leaves with grieving family and friends. I am very impressed by the poet’s skill in telling so much in such a concise and visual way. I also like the way the title gives vital information that is not included within the poem itself.
The following poems are also very worthy of mention:
1. ‘Cym Du’: beautifully constructed, with near rhyme used effectively at line endings, a strong narrative and a wonderful image of a softening red balloon discovered in a dark wet valley.
2. ‘I sit with my mother’: very poignant, with sharp, well observed and contrasting images.
3. ‘undertow’: develops a real sense of tension through the everyday to imagination and horror.
4. ‘Camlet Moat, Epitaph’: this reminds me of some of Dylan Thomas’s poetry, where language tumbles into images. I especially like ‘angled violence’, and the last line that ends the poem so well.
5. ‘On the Verge’: uses the natural world as a metaphor for approaching parenthood, with images of sea and air emphasising fluidity and uncertainty. I especially like the line: ‘where the sun sinks below the line that isn't there.’
There were great images in many poems that did not win. For example: ‘a gauze/To swap the bleeding sky’; ‘a fist in the froth, scrabbling for the last spoon’; ‘I hear them/Upstairs in my head/Moving stuff around’; ‘head twisted into a wince’; ‘Clouds gorge sun in layers’; there was a very vivid image of an African snake with ‘stiletto fangs’.
There were various recurring issues too, for example:
· unnecessarily repeated words, close together
· rhetorical questions used where a statement would do a better job
· grammatical errors such as words beginning in upper case, for no apparent reason, following a comma or colon
· language that sounds wonderful but loses its sense
· spelling errors
· some words ‘invented’ by merging two rather than keeping them as two
· titles that simply repeat a line from the poem
· the kind of personification where the first person ‘is’ a creature, or refers to ‘the wind’, or ‘summer’ as if a person
· many, many clichés, like ‘cruelly disappoint’, ‘glory of the sky’,
· reversal of language e,g. ‘the chilled mist it cleaves’ in order to make a rhyme with ‘leaves’
· some poems have really great stanzas eventually, but follow several ‘introductory’ lines or stanzas that add nothing to the poem
· some unnecessarily repeat information in a slightly different form
· some rely too heavily on shape in place of depth of content
· many fell into the trap of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’
Overall, I very much enjoyed the way poems celebrated nature, showed humour, sparkled with imagery. It was a great privilege to read them all.
Orchard by Stuart Nunn
Although this was my territory, my special place,
he led me through the ancient orchard
and told me what was what.
He kicked at troughs, shied windfalls
at the desultory hens, slaughtered thistle heads
with the ash sticks he’d insisted that we cut.
Just being there, he challenged me,
and we Stewart Granger-ed round
derelict swede cutter, swung on the two
remaining apple trees, scrumped little yellow ones,
despite my telling him that they were sour.
Tiring of that just as I was getting into it,
he squared up to the giant bramble clump,
where sometimes eggs were laid.
“Come out, Haigh. We know you’re in there.”
His shout produced in me the murderer,
the acid bath, the mystery of dissolving glamour.
So when he climbed up on the rackety gate
and said, “Why’s this a five-barred gate?
It hasn’t got five bars,” I was provoked
into my first infant existential blasphemy.
“Because it bloody is,” I said.