SWC Poetry 2014 Results

With a big thanks to the talented Stephen Beattie, find below the winners, commendeds and judge’s thoughts on the Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition 2014


‘Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood’ T.S. Eliot.

Chief Judge’s Report – Stephen Beattie

“As final adjudicator I was delighted to receive over 120 poems from a total of 300. Firstly I would like to thank my fellow poet Denise Randall for selecting the final batch of poems and for her hard work running the admin side of the competition. All the poems Denise selected had merit and it was pleasing to see set forms represented, (Sestina, Sonnet and Villanelle), as well as Free Verse. I read all the poems at least three times and each one had something to say, in fact the hardest part of the adjudication process is letting a poem go knowing that the author has striven to produce their best work.

After the initial readings I was left with a long list of 50 which I then reduced to a short list of 20. All of the 20 were well crafted pieces and I’m sure many of them will have success elsewhere. However winning poems have to be chosen and although I am aware that poetry is very subjective I believe that the winners have produced work that provokes, entertains and enriches.

Thank you to all who entered the competition, your work has given me many hours of pleasure and quite a few, ‘Why didn’t I think of that!’ moments.”


1st Prize, Squinting at Fish by Pat Borthwick

Written in un-rhymed couplets with careful use of precise language Pat Borthwick tells the story of a blind person who partially regains their sight. This beautifully crafted poem never lapses into sentimentality and contains many wonderful images, I particularly like, ‘Frames as cold as Skegness sea’.


2nd Prize, Birdman with young owl by Jackie Wills

A poem that draws in the reader with a description of a couple meeting with a man

who has hand reared an owl. The poem appears deceptively simple until the final three

stanzas when themes of gender roles and control are introduced taking the work into a

much darker area.


3rd Prize, Invisible Man by Al Mcclimens

A playful poem with disturbing undertones about the loss of identity. The use of language is witty and direct and works well as a poem for the page and in performance.

Highly Commended, Descendents by Roger Elkin

Highly Commended, Dawn by Vaughan Rapatahana

Commended, Another Place by Ken Sullivan

Commended, If This Scene Were Two Dimensional by Pauline Hawkesworth

Commended, on the morning of my death by Jim Bennett


Local Prize, Tick Tock, Time’s Clock by Lynne Sutton

A feel-good poem describing a family sitting together after Sunday lunch. The entire piece is laden with imagery and the poet consistently shows rather than tells. The description of the grandparents in the second and third stanzas is stunning.

Highly Commended, In Care by Brian Wake

Commended, Taking Root by Lynne Sutton.


Humour Prize, A Bit On The Side, by Loraine Darcy

A delightful poem that made me laugh out loud but just as importantly the poet has taken care to ensure that the work conforms to the rules of poetry, something many writers of comic verse fail to do. The subject matter is saucy without ever descending into vulgarity and concludes with an excellent punch line, another poem that would work equally well on the page or in performance.

Highly Commended, Silverbacks by Darren Cannan

Commended, The man in the Moon by Joanne Fox

Southport Writers' Circle