Our judge Polly Walshe placed five poems in the highly commended category. These were
- · Ode to my Sainsbury’s Vouchers by Alison Binney
- · The Sky Signpost by Chris Garbett
- · A pair of socks reunited by Craig Hannaway
- · What’s Hip by Phil Baker
- · Sonnet of a line of Sophie Hannah by Tony Watts
The third prize of £25 was awarded to Kelly Davis for ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’.
Kelly writes “Kelly Davis was born in London, studied English Literature at Oxford University, and worked for Penguin, Longman and BBC Books in the 1980s. She moved to West Cumbria in 1989, where she works from home as a freelance editor. Her poems have been widely anthologised and published in magazines, including Mslexia, Magma, The Journal, Southlight and Shooter. She won a Magma subscribers’ competition in 2018 and came second in the 2021 Borderlines Poetry Competition. She has twice been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and she appears in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2019–2021 anthology (Black Spring Press). In 2021 she was longlisted for the Erbacce Prize for Poetry and selected for a series of workshops with Kim Moore for Emerging Northwest Poets. She recently collaborated with Cumbrian poet Kerry Darbishire on a pamphlet entitled Glory Days (Hen Run, Grey Hen Press, 2021). www.kellydavis.co.uk”
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’
After Sonnet 18
No, you’re more of a poignant, fleeting shot.
We miss the perfect picture when we nap;
one moment summer’s here, and then it’s not.
The sun so often burns too hot and bright
and must be filtered to avoid a glare.
We all have photos we keep out of sight,
the ones we hide from the stranger’s cold stare.
But your Instagrammed beauty will not die,
your virtual lips will keep their cherry red.
On Facebook we can’t tell truth from a lie,
or vibrant, young and fair from nearly dead.
So long as screens still glow and pixels shine,
your image will live on, defying time.
The second prize of £50 was awarded to Siobhán Flynn for ‘Tall Old Ladies’.
Siobhán writes “I am a poet from Dublin, Ireland and I must confess that I am not five foot nine but seven and a half didn't rhyme with anything. Although I also write more serious poems in free form verse, I have always enjoyed writing poems that rhyme and make people smile. I was runner up in the Percy French Prize for Comic Verse at the Strokestown Poetry Festival in 2011 and 2015. More recently I was joint winner of The Kipling Society John McGivering Poetry Prize 2021 and this year I won the New Writing Prize for Poetry at the Cúirt festival in Galway. My work has been published in The Irish Times, Visual Verse, The Poetry Bus, Amsterdam Quarterly and others. I have been talking about working towards my first collection for several years so I am now actually doing it.”
Tall Old Ladies
I’d really like to know,
I’m five foot nine and in my prime
will it soon be time to go?
Do they shrink with time,
does life somehow wear them down
or is it poor design?
There must be some around
perhaps they crawl wrapped up in shawls
to huddle underground.
they're hiding from the small
and mean old ones, those little runts
resentful of the tall.
we need your skills at once –
a brave cohort to thwart the short
by standing at the front.
The first prize of £100 was awarded to Vijaya Venkatesan for ‘Boustrophedon (or, how not to write a Terza rima)’.
Vijaya writes ‘‘I wrote poetry by the metre as a child. You know, the dum de dum de dum de dum; dum de dum de dum style. Poetry remained a regular part of my reading diet, but I stopped writing any.
About three years ago I attended a poetry workshop at the City Lit in London (now continuing weekly online) which gave me a real impetus to write poetry with intent and focus. The imagination, creativity and perceptiveness of the tutor and fellow participants of the workshop has been like a whetstone to my work. And that in turn, more recently has enabled me to overcome my trepidation about submitting my poems to a wider gaze.
I was longlisted in the 2021 National Poetry Competition and now this.”
Boustrophedon (or, how not to write a Terza rima)
yoke its bearing ox patient a like
ploughing a strip strictly bound
a forward look, a backward glance
choke I chain this by burdened but
skill of want woeful of display this at
I could yet persist and perchance
plod on ox-like, until brought to a standstill.
*The earliest writing in Greek from adapted Phoenician symbols was done left to right on one line with the subsequent line following on right to left. The term used in linguistics for this form of writing is ‘boustrophedon’ which means ‘as the ox ploughs’.