Poetry 2019 Judge’s Report

To read the winning poems CLICK HERE

Organiser’s Report

This was a difficult year, with many talented poets taking a chance that their work would catch the eyes and hearts of our judges and to make it through to the final sift. As ever we had a good spread from across the globe, though more than a couple came from France. The south of England and Scotland had good representation also, leading to a wide mix of cultural influences in the work we received. There is something special about how the differing experiences of individuals give birth to these 40 line windows into other types of lives.

Popular themes this year included Cats (going to show that people did their research!), Religion, DIY, Age and for some reason quite a lot of poems around the Sea and similar nautical themes. Very few about Love or War this time round, which is an oddity in itself, but nice to see writers branching out in their art.

A side note – Every year we have entries whose writers are a little loose with their interpretation of the rules, in terms of line count or things as fundamental as not putting their name on it. I’m happy to say this time round we had the least disqualifications on record for this competition, which is great, because as everyone is aware, you don’t stand a chance of winning if your entry does not even get read. Well done to everyone who entered correctly and please know, it was very hard to decide the shortlist indeed as the majority were excellent.

Chief Judge’s Report – Daniel Riding

It is never a difficult task to explain why you love or loathe a certain piece of poetry, for some, it may be the emotional tone that evokes long lost memories, or it may be the intelligent use of form and structure that alerts me to the talent behind a poem’s creation. However, when greeted with numerous poems that exhibit such a level of intelligence and passion, that the task of choosing winners proves somewhat difficult. Given the difficulty of said task, I am thrilled to say that it was a complete joy to see so many people still writing and enjoying the art of poetry. 

1st Place – Mistaken Identity – by Hannah Stephenson

First place goes to the wonderfully constructed, and charmingly visual ‘Mistaken Identity’. It quite simply made my heart sing, with its delightful childlike quality and the use of a normally overlooked piece of nature to effectively get across its message.

2nd Place – Finally – by Laurence Hughes

Second place goes to a poem that enabled me to see the beauty of beginnings hidden in endings. Finally is a piece of poetry that is small in stature but big in presence. Each sentence, each word, and each syllable is used carefully and with thought. Not a single moment is wasted in this small but poignant piece. 

3rd Place – The Space Between – by D.C.Tunstall

This poem had a smoothness about it that drove home hard this idea of love, it’s limitations and its limitless power to change everything. Be it familial, plutonic or even passionate, love is explored cleverly and with heart in this lovely piece of writing.

Humour Prize – No, don’t tell me – by Dan Hicks

I would like to tell you what I enjoy about this poem, but I may have forgotten! In all seriousness, this poem made me chuckle with its razor-sharp observations about memory loss. Something that all of us can admit to dealing with every now and again. It had a nice rhythm which kept the pace of the poem ticking along nicely and only added to its very funny take on a sometimes serious subject matter. Cleverly done. 

Highly Commended – Fingers for Eyes – by John Morris

Commended – 

Grenfell Tower: The Day After – by Jacqueline Pemberton

Still Water – by Michael Hobbs

Journey – by Helen Jeffery

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