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POETRY KIT COMPETITION RESULTS
RESULTS OF THE 2023 INTERNATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION
Rewilding the lounge by Greta Ross (Canterbury UK)
Artisan by Sue Hansard (Tamworth, UK)
breast scan by Ansuya Patel (London UK)
Ornithomancy by Cathy Dalton (Ireland)
One London man by Elizabeth Davies (UK)
Winding Sheet by Camilla Lambert (Arundel UK)
Urban blackbirds and me by Glen Wilson (Portadown NI)
Galaxy by Jenny Mitchell (London UK)
A Kind of Humming Silence by Alicia Sometimes (Victoria, Australia)
This Morning I Was Not a Bird by Ion Corcos (NSW Australia)
The pot still stands in the sun by Diane Jackman (Norwich, UK)
Young Politician's Guide to the Orchestra by Derek Sellen (Canterbury UK)
Heavy lifting by A C Clarke (Glasgow, UK)
Abandoned petrol station at Harwich International by Nico Volkerts (The Netherlands)
Re-education Centre by Dean Gessie (Canada)
The Judge James Bain says
“I read through all of the wonderful entries, over 300 in all and the standard of the poetry was exceptionally high. I reduced these to a long list and then to the short list you see above before deciding that the quality and uniqueness of Rewilding the Lounge by Greta Ross was the poem I would chose as the winner. Greta’s poem stuck in the mind and developed the scene in a very surreal way but one that took the reader with her. It raised questions and presented unique and interesting images. “
The winning Poem
Rewilding the lounge by Greta Ross
From where the armchair lives comes a flurry of air,
I notice a new burrow not there yesterday. Good.
Glad the rewilding is getting on. About time new beasties came.
The scurries are muted, for they know I write for them
and I need silence to think, let things grow.
Most days I scroll the internet, then gaze at the bookshelves.
The old hardbacks have not shifted for years and I note
the bookcase has put down roots as if to show my intention
of reading those still-virgin books is laughable. In fact
it is creaking from excessive smirking. Maybe I will open one,
though disturbing a sleeping aged book is cruel.
An old stained TS Eliot stares at me. I have not responded.
He tempts with the usual tableaux of sacrifice, sex and other rituals
in meandering verses I blame on the Margate sea air.
Yeats is yellowing. So is Hughes and Heaney. A touch of the sun.
The gang of newer Bookers peek through spider webs. They can wait.
Above them, a Divine Comedy sprawls over-fed with terza rimas.
There is a groan. The Readers Digest Great World Atlas leans
riffling self-important pages. I have not the heart to dump it, poor thing,
all those wars, so many renamed countries, it will have a fit.
So the old Atlas stays. Well what do you expect me to do?
The rest of the house is surplus to requirements. It does its own thing.
Yes, you wonder about the toilet and shower. I am not feral, I do use those.
I don’t go shopping. I grow food where I can in the lounge. Self sufficiency.
My trusty microwave whirrs and pings. We chat over coffee.
I have seen its little legs grow, soon it’ll wander off to find a nicer spot.
The Venetian blinds have turned more earthy, retro tinted brown,
their vertical slats swishing to try getting through glass. I shout
don’t be so stupid but they just sigh scusate, parliamo solo italiano.
The lounge wall’s bare spaces are inventing neo-Dada art,
amazing the surreal effects they get with fungal mapping,
careful antique gouges, dribbles of painted masonry
and cameos exposing board and batten. I might put frames
round the more outspoken patches. Open a gallery.
Sell murals like Banksy. Rewilding, it’s a wonderful life.
Results of the Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition 2022
artist in the canoe by Catherine Heighway (London, Canada)
Aspirations of a Goldfish by Pauline Gould (Birmingham, UK)
the Hardanger fiddle by Derek Sellen (Canterbury, UK) -
Still Life by Robin Gilbert (Cheltenham, UK)
Marshal Ney… by Corinne Lawrence (Stockport, UK)
Mr Plimt’s problem with models by John Ling (Manchester, UK)
Bride by Carolyn Peck – (Whitchurch Canonicorum, UK)
The First Sighting of Antarctica by Gabriel Griffin (Italy)
The Angelus by S.M.Beckett (Trinidad)
My congratulations to the winner and to the other highly commended poets. There were some outstanding entries this year and those picked out by the judge were all such a high standard that the selection of the winner came down to very fine margins.
Results of the Spring Poetry Competition 2022
That morning I woke in Peter's Bed by Averill Long
Nabokov's Dreams by Mandy Pannett
Highly Commended (in random order)
Prometheus considers the benison of night-times by Roger Elkin
Did they separate us?
Waking in the Loft
Having a lovely time... by Gabriel Griffin
Easy living by Rod Whitworth
Life's Candle by Joy Lebof
The Ballad of Hardy’s Heart
by Copland Smith
Camels and a thinking Fish by Mandy Pannett
- We are pleased to announce the results of the Poetry Kit International Poetry Competition 2022.
- Thank you to everyone who entered our competition. Our sole judge, James Bain, has picked selected some fine poems any one of which could have been a winner. The winning and commended poets will invited to submit a selection of their poems including the one from the competition and these will be published later on the Poetry Kit Blog as part of a special feature. Those on the list below will be contacted about this in a short while.
- So again with thanks to all who entered here is the result.
- Competition Winner
- A time of life - Marie Feldman (London, UK)
- Runner up
- Rooted in Rock – Joan Gooding (Carlisle, UK)
- Commended (in alphabetical order)
- Afternoon Storm in Sunshine – Michelle Pozar (Lilliwaup, WA. USA)
- Castaway – Anthony Watts (Taunton, UK)
- Cockle Shell - Damaris West (Ayr, UK)
- Convolvulus - Veronica Aaronson (Newton Abbot, UK)
- Hope Resurfaces For the Girl at Greggs – Andy Millican (UK)
- Part 4 - in solidarity with Ian Dury - Sheila Schofield Large (Correz, France)
- The Littoral – Sarah Frost (Durban, South Africa)
- Time and Tide – Jo Sanders (London, UK)
- Until Morning – Erin Koronis (Gloucester, UK)
Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poem Competition 2021
I am pleased to announce the result is as follows
Ophelia by Lynda Turbet
You there in the painting by Thomas Piper
The Falling Man by Jean Hall
Rene Magritte’s The Lovers 1 & 2 by Jan Harris
The Rent Man by Lynne C Potter
Reclining Female Nude 1917-20 by Jude Rosen
Dust by Noel King
‘We are making a new world’ by Mary Anne Smith Sellen
The winning poem
Ophelia by Lynda Turbet
Poor Lizzie, weighted by water
her antique dress spread wide
(its tarnished silver thread
stinks of old sweat and cat)
lies in her bath, uncomplaining;
what it is to be a stunner.
Mr Millais lights warm lamps but -
too often he forgets when they go out,
paints on. She dozes, tries to shift,
thinks of soft pillows, quilts,
Mr Rosetti’s lustrous curls,
his artist’s hands unbuttoning.
Her mind floats free under willows;
loosestrife, mallow, violets,
swim to her hands;
her red hair spreads like weed
buoying her head. Mother said
You’ll catch your death my girl
it ent respectable
She feels the creeping chill
imagines minnows, froglets
tangling her curls. A water snake
inches between folds.
Here, she’s already drowned.
THE POETRY KIT SPRING COMPETITION 2021
I am pleased to announce the results of the Poetry Kit Spring Competition 2021. Congratulations to our winners and those commended by the judge. We will be publishing the results online at https://www.poetrykit.org/PKcomp.htm today and a report will be published on the page at the end of July.
Mary Devine, Competitions organiser, The Poetry Kit.
Lesley Burt, Christchurch, UK
Turner explains colour to Newton during sunrise at the Cathedral
David Moore, Mason, Ohio, USA
Before I lost it
Charlie Bowrey, London, UK
Lucy Crispin, Kendal, UK
Doreen Hinchliffe, London, UK
James Finnegan, Letterkeny, Co Donegal, Ireland
Thirteen Thigs I Get From Charles Wright
Miriam Patrick, W Sussex, UK
A Letter to Alan Lewis
RESULTS OF THE POETRY KIT INTERNATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION 2021
1st prize awarded to
Gabriel Griffin - Italy
The Heart and the Limbs of Home
2nd Prize awarded to
Simon Bonnet – Berlin, Germany
And an end to all this
Nazan Osman - London, UK
a potion brewer looking into their collection of vials they mixed after collecting samples from their childhood home
Miles Larmour - Leamington Spa, UK
Konstandinos Mahoney – London, UK
WORKING FROM HOME (8): ANACONDA
Alwyn Marriage - Guildford, UK
Peter J Donnelly - York, UK
Aashik Sekharan – London UK
Lesley Burt – Christchurch, UK
solstice at home
Angie Davies – Llandeilo, UK
My (Black) Doc Martens Boots
Glen Wilson – Portadown, Northern Ireland
The colours of autumn
Camilla Lambert - Arundel, UK
Tessa Hall – Woodstock, UK
'Cheese Sandwiches at the Convent'
Anne Swannell - Victoria, Canada
From Kharaz Refugee Camp, Yemen
Anthony Watts, TAUNTON, UK
Samantha Bush - Park City, Utah, USA
on the ferry home
Alastair de Grandis – Morbihan, France
Michelle Marie Jacquot - Los Angeles, CA USA
Writing on The WallPoetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition 2020
Due to an irregularity the poem that was originally chosen and placed first has been disqualified. The results now are as follows.
1st place is awarded to
Seurat’s little girl … by Roger Elkin - UK
Sally Morgan Clair Chilvers - UK
(third place will not be awarded)
The standard was very high and ultimately I felt that all of these poets should know that their poems came vey close in the final consideration and I wish to commend all of the poems that appeared on my shortlist.
At the Albertina by Patrick Osada, UK
Two Persons Reluctant to be Born by Noel King - Ireland
Seawater Carrots and the Pleasantness of Salted Persuasion by Ion Corcos - Australia
Reading the Letter by Greta Ross - UK
Fluid Icons by Kathryn Fry - Australia
Hilda is dreaming by Mary Anne Smith Sellen - UK
La Coiffure. by Jo Sanders - UK
Breathing Exercise by Daphne Milne - Australia
Montmartre by Doreen Hinchliffe - UK
Apparitions by Audrey McIlvain - UK
I wish I’d stayed in bed by Dorrie Johnson - UK
Mr & Mrs Andrews visit Flatford Mill by Lesley Burt - UK
Artist, mid-morning by Alwyn Marriage - UK
Vermeer’s The Concert by Isabella Mead - UK
Serial adultery by Estelle Price - UK
Mudlark by Gill Garrett - UK
The Fever Van by Victoria Gatehouse - UK
Black Country Absinthe by Zoe Piponides - Cyprus
Congratulations to the winners and commended poems. Thank you for your wonderful poetry.
Jim Bennett, Poetry Kit
The results of the Poetry Kit Spring Competition 2020
I am pleased to announce that the results of the competition are as follows.
The Judges report will be posted on this page later in the month.
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, 1768 by Greta Ross (Canterbury, UK)
The horse on the beach by Mike French (Frankfurt, Germany)
Home by Kirsty Goodman (Cornwall, UK)
Sirin by Sumio Kobayashi (Japan)
Social isolation Hazel Teare (Isle of Man)
Tidings Above the Stour - Jon Fink (Manningtree, Essex)
Sundays at Home by Judith Wozniak (Titchfield, UK)
Holy Well by Maurice Franceschi (Glasgow, UK)
Knitting by Clair Chilvers (Cheltenham)
The Snake - Nora Nadjarian (Cyprus)
On the debate about teaching Latin by Pete Pitman (Stapleford, Notts)
Nocturn by Sarah Nichols (Coggeshall, Essex)THE POETRY KIT AUTUMN COMPETITION 2019
Result of the Poetry Kit Autumn Competition 2019
Those things you do by David Sands (Newtown, Wales)
His life's work by Jan Harris (Notts, UK)
"One Tear" by Alex Kulbel (Yankton, SD, USA )
imprinting by saskia ashby (Mablethorpe Park)
The Bramblelands by Laura Potts ( West Yorkshire)
Hoarding by Philippa Hatton-Lepine (Melton Mowbray)
The seaweed girl by Roshni Paul (Birmingham, UK)
Leaving by Guy Martyn (Gosfield)
Murmuration by Mary Bray (Lowestoft, UK)
THE AIR IS WAITING by Mandy Pannett (Pulborough)
The competition which closed in December had many really strong entries which made selecting a winner very difficult. The winner and second place are both memorable and are fine poems through which the reader can engage with well rounded viewpoints both with strong individual voices.
The winning poems will be issued as a special edition of Caught in the Net at Easter.
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.