Competition 2021: Judge Seán Hewitt

The 2021 Competition is now closed. Thank you to all who entered and also to everyone who shared. Winners will be contacted by 7 April.

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce the 9th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

Our judge for 2021 is Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt lectures in English literature at Trinity College Dublin, and is a Book Critic for The Irish Times. He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Tongues of Fire (Cape, 2020) is his debut collection of poetry, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2020. His next book, All Down Darkness Wide, will be published by Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022.

A video message from judge Seán Hewitt:

What previous judges have said about the Poets & Players Competition:

When Poets & Players asked me to judge their competition I happily agreed. It’s an organisation I have long admired, from its earliest days with the inspiring founder Linda Chase, to today’s impressive incarnation in the splendid Whitworth Gallery. (Pascale Petit, 2018)

Poets & Players is one of the most significant and impressive poetry organisations in the country: the quality of the readings it puts on, its presence in the city is remarkable, so I’m delighted to be part of it in judging this competition. (Michael Symmons Roberts, 2017)

What was electrifying about this year’s entries … was not just the wide and eclectic range of subject matters … but also the range of forms and tones, the many tongues and registers that together created a resonating and distinct entry of poetry. (Jackie Kay, 2016)

What a fabulously organised competition… One tries to dissuade people from the idea of competitions but if you’re going to have one have it like this. (Paul Muldoon, 2015)

It was actually really fun judging the competition because you get the sense of what is happening in poetry right now … it was fascinating to take the temperature, as it were, of contemporary poetry. I’d like to thank Poets and Players organisation for running the competition, for wanting to run the competition, but also in general for the work that they do in promoting poetry in Manchester and the broader area, it’s a commendable organisation and I’m delighted to be associated with it. (Vona Groarke, 2014)

This competition was scrupulously organised, and I loved the fact that the anonymity of the entries allowed each poem to speak for itself. (Jacob Polley, 2013)

POETS & PLAYERS PRIZE

Seán Hewitt will read ALL poems. All poems will be judged anonymously.

1st Prize: £600
2nd Prize: £200
3rd Prize: £100

Commended poets at the judge’s discretion.

Closing Date: 1 March 2021

Winners will be informed by 7 April 2021 and will be invited to read alongside Seán Hewitt at the prize giving ceremony (date to be confirmed). If you have not been notified by 7 April 2021, we are afraid you have not been successful.

RULES AND OTHER INFORMATION

  • The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but must be the author’s own original work (no translations). They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by 1 March 2021, up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT);  Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

Entry Form 2021

Please email the completed Competition Entry Form and poems to
P-Pcomp@mail.com

All email entries will be acknowledged.

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the document (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Poems must be in English. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Email entries must be paid by PayPal. IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.
      • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).

COPYRIGHT

Entrants retain copyright of their poems, however, we will publish the winning poems on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery. We would also hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners reading for use on social media.

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Poetry Prize: Reemergence

The Reemergence Prize is now closed. Thank you and good luck to everyone who entered.

 

 

As you all know we have been unable to stage any events at the Whitworth since February and this situation is likely to continue into the new year, so we thought if we can’t see you all in person we could instead invite you to write some new work, and with this in mind we are opening up a themed prize that will be judged by the Poets & Players team (all entries will be judged anonymously). This prize isn’t to replace our annual competition, for which we have already lined up an excellent judge (to open towards the end of the year). But in the meantime why not give this one a go, there’s a modest entry fee of £2 per poem (3 for £5) and we would really love to read your interpretations of our theme.

THEME: REEMERGENCE

PRIZE: £300

CLOSING DATE: 16 NOVEMBER 2020

The subject is REEMERGENCE (reemerge/reemerging) and you may interpret this in any way you wish. The winning poet will receive a payment of £300 plus the opportunity to read their poem at a Poets & Players event (date to be confirmed). Please find below an Entry Form together with the rules.

The winner will be informed by Wednesday 16 December 2020 and will be invited to read at an event in 2021 (date to be confirmed). If you have not been notified by 16 December 2020, we are afraid you have not been successful.

RULES AND OTHER INFORMATION

  • The Prize is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems must be in English, typewritten in single space, font size 12. Please begin each poem on a new page but multiple entries should be contained in a single document.
  • Poems are to be written on the theme ‘reemergence’ (reemerge/reemerging), but can be in any style or form. All submissions must be the author’s own original work. They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all entries must reach us by Monday 16 November 2020, 12 midnight (GMT). Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

Reemergence entry form 2020

Please email the completed Prize Entry Form and poems to
reemergence2020@gmail.com. All email entries will be acknowledged.

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the document (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc or docx.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Closing date is 16 November 2020 (entries may be submitted up to 12 midnight (GMT) on this date).
  • Entry fee is £2 per poem or 3 poems for £5. Payment to be made by PayPal. IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.
      • Single poem £2 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £5 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).

COPYRIGHT

The winner retains copyright of their poem, however, we would hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winner reading at the awards ceremony for our website, and to publish the winning poem on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery.

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The Reemergence Prize winner

The results are in for our 2020 Reemergence Prize. We are happy to announce the winner is Susan Shepherd, you can read Susan’s poem, ‘The Flodden Horses’, followed by the judges’ report below. The judges also drew up a long list and those poets are listed in the report.

ImageSusan Shepherd lives in the Scottish border town of Coldstream, where she works as a freelance journalist. Her first pamphlet, Wood End, was published by Shoestring Press in 2019 and her poems have appeared in The Interpreter’s House and The Poets’ Republic. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. With her passion for history and a reporter’s eye, she often seeks to re-tell a story, or re-imagine events, through poetry.

 

The Flodden Horses
for Martha

No one had drunk himself foolish in the Newcastle Arms that year.
Bad weather on Cheviot
did not concern the Men’s Shed crew
who had not spent the first Sunday in August
threading the lampposts of the border town with bunting.

On Thursday
trailers did not cram the taped-off meadows of the Lees;
only Shorty McCann, in plastered overalls, walking to his builder’s van, stopped
to film an otter in the Leet Water.
And Sally Moffatt, returning from the night shift at Morrison’s
weighted with carriers
paused to look
but could see nothing.

By eleven o’clock, rain had arrived and the undiverted traffic
thundered on to Edinburgh.

Afterwards, those who witnessed it would say:
it began where the poplars had stood
until Foreman the butcher – newly retired to Orchard Cottage – felled them
to improve his view.

First came the Destriers, prized by knights, easy to train for war.
Then the Rouncers and the Coursers, flanks built for speed,
and the agile Palfreys men-at-arms prefer.

Next the Jennets and the Ambling horses, good for long distance.
And bringing up the rear, one Powys pony,
of gentle temperament, hardy and calm.

And all were riderless, none burnt or scarred.
And every ear of every mare and gelding
twitched intact in the shimmering air;
and no flesh was pierced by an English bill.

Score by shadowy score, they streamed across McGregor’s fields
forded the Tweed at a long-forgotten crossing point
(which Geoff from Calico House later said
had been popular for picnics
in his grandfather’s day)

and were last seen entering an alder grove on the Cornhill side
on a track below Branxton Moor,
not yet spoils of battle; the Welsh pony keeping up
with a flick of his fine, grey tail.

You can watch Susan reading ‘The Flodden Horses’ on our YouTube channel:

Judges’ Report

Thank you to all those who entered our Poets & Players 2020 Prize on the theme of ‘Reemergence’. There was a fantastic response, which made our job as judges both difficult and rewarding. The number of poems and the breadth of subject matter were both surprising, and even more gratifying was the quality. We certainly had enough to fill a magazine, and it was hard choosing a winner. That said, the poem we have chosen won by a clear head.

We’re pleased then to announce that the prize goes to ‘The Flodden Horses’ by Susan Shepherd. This poem is powered by the sheer delight of its inundation of ghostly horses set among the normalities of life in the Borders. It delighted us by the skill of its timing, its lightness of touch, its humorous tone and the assurance of its animating detail. However, it does invite us to think, and be grateful that the horrors of that battle, hinted at in the third to last stanza, have become so distant.

We originally aimed to name no names other than the winner but the response was too strong. We decided it would be wrong not to highlight other authors whose poems came close at the finish. In alphabetical order these are:

Liz Byrne
Alison Campbell
Catherine Edmunds
John Gallas
Christopher M James
Janet Hatherley
Hazel Hutchinson
Vanessa Lampert
Jane Lovell
Sammy Weaver

We don’t mention titles so as to leave them free for anonymous submission elsewhere.

 

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Online Workshop with Malika Booker: 7 November 2020

This workshop is now full. Thanks everyone.

Malika Booker (bio below) will be tutor for a Zoom poetry workshop on Saturday 7 November at 10.30-12.30.

The fee for this workshop is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once David has confirmed your place payment can be made using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Malika Booker

Photo credit: Siro Micheroli

Malika Booker is a British poet and theatre maker of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. And the founder of the writers collective, Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017) and her poem Nine Nights, first published in The Poetry Review in autumn 2016, was shortlisted for Best Single Poem in the 2017 Forward Prize.   

Malika received her MA from Goldsmiths University and has recently begun a PhD at the University of Newcastle. She was the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at Leeds University, the first British poet to be a fellow at Cave Canem and the inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2020 Booker received a Cholmondeley Award for outstanding contribution to poetry. 

Malika hosts and curates New Caribbean Voices, Peepal Tree Press’s literary podcast, and is currently a poetry Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

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Online Workshop with Anthony Anaxagorou, Editing Poetry: Thinking Beyond the Stanza, 31 October 2020

This workshop is now full. Thanks everyone.

Our first ever Zoom workshop will be with Anthony Anaxagorou, (bio below), the subject is ‘Editing Poetry: Thinking Beyond the Stanza’. It takes place on Saturday 31 October and runs from 10.30-12.30.

The fee for this workshop is a special introductory price of £10. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once David has confirmed your place payment can be made using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £10Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Anthony Anaxagorou

© Photo by Dave Shrimpton

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry has been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, Granta, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.

His second collection After the Formalities published with Penned in the Margins is a Poetry Book Society recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S Eliot Prize. It was also a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year.

He was awarded the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing, and the 2015 Groucho Maverick Award for his poetry and fiction. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a monthly poetry and music night held at London’s Southbank Centre, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press.

His forthcoming book How to Write It will be published on 15 October. It covers technical aspects of poetry & prose + looks at the British education system, the publishing industry, race & class, prize culture, magazine submissions, manuscripts, internet along with self-publishing, live events, agents & ways to sustain a career as a writer in the 21st century. You can order a copy below:

How To Write It (Merky How To)  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1529118794/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fab_tVdFFbMW09PMX

Website: https://anthonyanaxagorou.com

Instagram: @anthony_anaxagorou

Twitter: @anthony1983

Facebook: Anthony Anaxagorou

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Altered Nature Commission Poems 2020

Each year Poets & Players commission poets to write on a subject that we think is relevant that year and also that has potential to produce a variety of responses. This year we invited poets David Wheatley, Mary Jean Chan, Jane Burn and Isaiah Hull to write on the theme ‘Altered Nature’. The commissioned poets produced a wonderful range of poems and we are grateful for their work.

As the Covid-19 situation escalated it was clear that the poets and our audience wouldn’t be able to gather as usual at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The date for our event was today, World Poetry Day, and although we can’t all be together in person we are pleased to be able to share the poems with you online along with a couple of readings kindly provided by the poets. Here are the poems:

DAVID WHEATLEY

Please click the link below to read David’s poem:

Wolf Girl, Clais Mhadaidh by David Wheatley

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published four collections of poetry with Gallery Press and, more recently, The President of Planet Earth with Carcanet. He has also edited the poetry of Samuel Beckett for Faber and Faber, and written an academic study, Contemporary British Poetry (Palgrave, 2015). He has reviewed widely for the TLS, Guardian, LRB and other journals, and lives with his family in rural Aberdeenshire.

MARY JEAN CHAN

Note: this poem was written before the arrival of Covid-19 in the UK.

Altered Nature

The birds had their tongues tied to silver strings as they hung
mid-air in silence. I was kneeling on the wet earth, crying out.
A disembodied voice informed me that nectar was being slowly
harvested from their throats, that this was the only way. Heat
from their flailing bodies pressed my eyes into my skull. I tried
to hold myself together in the dream but could not. Once awake,
I could not feel tender. The brutality of all architecture stunned
me wherever I looked. What were we – as a species – doing?
I finally summoned the will to write Life on my to-do list but
kept postponing the task. I had been dreaming of the dying,
because I could not ignore the news from home, country not
so far from the heart. This viral uncertainty keeping me afraid
of intimacy. I did not want to touch what others had touched,
feared any public surface. Even the air was menacing, invisible
droplets omnipresent. A persistent cough soon developed, as if
to taunt me. My father, a rheumatologist, texts to say he is well,
reminds me that he went through the SARS epidemic and never
took a day off work. I have inherited this stubborn, Calvinist ethic.
Today, I return to where breath feels possible. My therapist asks
me: What do you want? I think to myself: mother’s gaze / straight gaze
/male gaze / white gaze
… I am ashamed to confess that I want to

be reborn as the brother, the beloved son, the future patriarch.
I want to see this torso in a different light, beam on it a kinder
gaze as I wait for something to give. I read a poet’s words: Mostly,
we do not fail to go on living
. There is fire on the streets of a city I still

love and fire in the earth’s lungs as the hour ticks on. Had I simply
imagined this intimate scene: the mother lying prostrate at the feet
of her child, begging for a miracle, or was it the other way around…

Mary Jean Chan is a London-based poet from Hong Kong. She is an editor of Oxford Poetry and a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University. She came Second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2019, and won the 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for her collection’s title poem. Flèche (Faber & Faber, 2019). Her collection Flèche won the Costa Poetry Prize 2019.

JANE BURN

The Fortingall Yew

I was here before your modern Gods. Before the chanted faith
of congregations I was my own psalm young and green I held
my plush against cathedrals of ascetic sky, let the wind use

the stave of my branches to write its own hymns. Once I was a seed,
fallen and stripped of my fat, red flesh. I felt the call of soil and broke
my nut-brown shell, cast tiny threads to moor my beginning.

Around me, you raised up homes of daub as I raised myself,
wattled a crown upon my own head. You traded wildflowers for crop,
fingered the earth for twisted bulbs of ore, coddled them in flame

and cast an Age of Metal in the crucible’s molten eye. You learned
to make better blades. I saw the tombs you built, how you blessed
each cist with hoards of wealth. You turned your skill to iron

and streams ran with rust put keen axe to wood, went from scraping
shallow lines with simple ard to deeply wounding plough, swelled the acres
with grain, bent the gentle animals to your will. You saw yourselves

as flowers, plunged your cloth in mordant baths, stole the bright
of madder, woad and weld, blossomed with posies of gold and jewels.
You fell in love with wheels and I have watched these circles orbit

like planets in galaxies of smoke, just as I have watched the moon
turning on the axle of night. I have seen too much of your war. The air
has carried strange birds who blot a shadow across the light. This land

has known blood. Is full of ghosts. Now is our permanent autumn
of plastic leaves. They fall wherever people are. This is the Age of Nylon
and its fruit seems to come with polyester pith. For aeons past I watched

you people spread, swell as I have from sapling to bough. I watched you
wither, saw your skin corrupt, warped as my own bark. I saw you die
yet I used no trick to stay evergreen. No chemical cream, so magic soap

has granted me this long-lived gift. I stay strong with only basic need
my underground veins seek a little rain, my flora as allowance of sun.

Here I remain, rooted into your bones, anchorite still, warding this church

that has grown at my eroded side. I sense the tilt of your standing stones,
graved with faded sentiment and half-forgotten names. The weather
around me has started to speak in unforgiving tongues. I am wedded to time

I wear its eternity of rings, though I cleft beneath the weight of years.
Each splinter of me has drunk your poison in and hankered for clean air.
My needles lift like tiny fingers. I point them into the unknown.

Jane Burn lives with her family for eight months of the year in a self-sustained wooden cottage on the Northumberland border which they fully restored using almost wholly reclaimed or recycled materials. Her love of nature is reflected in her poems which have been published in many magazines including Poethead, The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Under the Radar, Crannog, Strix and Butcher’s Dog to name a few. Her work has appeared in anthologies from The Emma Press, Valley Press, Seren, Fairacre Press and Beautiful Dragons. Her poems have been placed, shortlisted and longlisted in thirty-eight national and international poetry competitions and have been nominated for the Forward and Pushcart Prize.

ISAIAH HULL

Altered Nature

A beehive of queens is never peaceful
No yellow equals black is regal
Regicidal
She might sting you many times
While listening to gasoline
Waiting for the match to fall
I recall you
Skinning me a tangerine
That was all
Citric acid
Neck and neck
Nazarene with
Indigos in inky fashion
Nectar on my nose
Honey on my honesty i didn’t panic
You can’t end me with wicker man in cinematics
She stings my phone on my way home
Hands in holes about to close
I lost a friend in you
so now revenge is due?
Send him through she says I knew I’d end up here
I say ‘so you have chosen fear
Over growing?, don’t you dare! I held you dear
How come your poison won’t compare
Hocum, mares, woe comes paired!’
In holding cells the wax implodes in air
How are you coping? Scared
I lost my vision overnight and woke impaired
New orders from Her Majesty are ‘Poke him where the poem wears!’

Isaiah Hull is a noir writer from Old Trafford, exploring and challenging the extremities of self with image, word and soul whether on page or stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Winners of our 2020 competition

We are pleased to reveal the names of the winners and commended poets chosen by judge Sinéad Morrissey. 

Winners

First Prize:– –   Rob Miles, ‘Moon’
Second Prize:-.. Natalie Rees, ‘Little House’
Third Prize:–  –Luke Allan, ‘Lemon ode’

Commended Poets

Rod Whitworth, ‘Winter 1947, Our Yard’
Ken Evans, ‘The Mortification of the Flesh’
Susie Wilson, ‘Paper Chase’
Connor Owen, ‘Birdwatcher’

 

First Prize: Rob Miles for his poem ‘Moon’

Rob Miles is from Devon and lives in West Yorkshire. His poetry has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. Rob has won or been runner up in various international journal and festival competitions. Some of Rob’s first places include the Philip Larkin Prize, judged by Don Paterson, and the Gingko/Resurgence Ecopoetry Prize, judged by Jo Shapcott and Imtiaz Dharker.

 

 

Moon

Some bad amateur maths pins it at blinking distance.
A hackneyed backlight design for antlers.
Salty ghost sucking crustily on the veins of a tree.

Chimneys giving it the finger get met by nothing
so tough in its serenity. There’s no face on this
pick-pocketed fossil, but a face

swallowing a face because no final face
has ever been achieved. It will take much more
than a few kitchen windows to explain. Stare

hard enough through a kettle’s breath and the aura
off its rocky iridescence is sticky tape going rogue:
ambiguous attachments, clear

commitment issues, now you see it, now…
Found on baby blue, welcome back as that nightmare
button thought lost in a cot. Singular mother

of all mothers of pearl. Floating speck on the retina
of the world. Eclipses fixed with a quick once over
at the opticians. Slingshot

chalk. Ancient castle moat igniter. Tide-teaser. Sliced
extrusion of seaside rock, blank at both ends
but all the way through saying moon.

Sinéad Morrissey’s comments: It seems almost impossible to write a good poem about the moon these days, and yet this writer has done exactly that. Like a stick of seaside rock, this virtuosic poem offers fresh perspectives on our planet’s most poetry-honoured satellite all the way through, and is full of textured grit and sonic wordplay.

Second Prize: Natalie Rees for her poem ‘Little House’

Natalie Rees is an Irish writer living in Bradford where she runs a Play & Creative Arts Therapy practice. She has been a prizewinner in the Penfro (2018) and Flambard (2017) poetry competitions and has published with various UK magazines. Her debut pamphlet is forthcoming later this year with Calder Valley Press.

 

 

Little House

Laura Ingles, with your mousey braids
and plaid smocks. With your sister, Mary,
who was prettier and towed the puritan line,
while you couldn’t help but involve
yourself in the entanglements
of your late nineteenth-century agrarian community
in ways that produced perfect moral outcomes,
such as Nellie Olsen in her Quaker best
being pulled by her blonde ringlets
into a pond because she was too self-aggrandising
when deferring to her family’s
sweet-shop-cum-hardware-store mercantile lifestyle.

Laura Ingles, I turned the top shelf of my plywood
wardrobe into your mid-western attic bedroom,
and sneaked up matches to read my Bible by paraffin lamp
made out of a used Nutella jar and tea light.
I craved your wholesome life, so safe and contained. If only
we could all skip around swinging packed lunches
in tin pails, wearing starched cotton dresses with white
aprons, everything in my eight-year-old life would be okay.

Laura Ingles, I spent Sunday afternoons fantasising
your father Charles would step out of the screen
into my living room, and pinch my cheek,
and call me Half-Pint,
his eyes meeting mine with all the twinkle
of a man who can hitch a wagon and work a water mill
by hand. Who would always happen to be behind
the next corner the precise moment
I needed a paternal figure to soak my shame
into the metallic sweetness of his flannel shirt.

Laura Ingles, even now I classify my personal timeline
as life Before Laura and life After Laura.

Sinéad Morrissey’s comments: This poem is composed of four direct addresses to Laura Ingles, with a whole world conjured in between. Funny, wry, self-deprecating and linguistically exuberant, “Little House” offers a re-run of a much-loved television series via unforgettable phrases and capacious syntax.

Third Prize:Luke Allan for his poem ‘Lemon ode’

Luke Allan is a poet, editor and designer. Former managing editor at Carcanet and PN Review, he is currently poetry editor at Partus Press and the literary journal Pain, and director of Studio Lamont. He studied at UEA and the University of Oxford. His poems are published in the TLS, Oxford Poetry, the anthology New Poetries VII and elsewhere.

 

 

Sinéad Morrissey’s comments: A gorgeous concrete poem in the shape of a lemon which conveys this fruit’s sharp, sensuous appeal to our touch, our sight, and our hearing in taut language and fruitful similes. The final comparison to owls is both unexpected and  exactly right and seals this poem’s achievements beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Workshop with Sinéad Morrissey: 4 April 2020

WORKSHOP CANCELLED

We are pleased to host a workshop with Sinéad Morrissey on Saturday 4 April 2020, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Everyone welcome. All areas of the Gallery are accessible and there are several parking bays on Denmark Road for disabled visitors.

The fee is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once your place has been confirmed payment can be made by cheque or by using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Sinéad Morrissey

Sinéad Morrissey has published six collections of poetry: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996); Between Here and There (2002); The State of the Prisons (2005); Through the Square Window (2009); Parallax (2013) and On Balance (2017). Her awards include the Irish Times Poetry Now Award (2009, 2013) and the T S Eliot Prize (2013). In 2016 she received the E M Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. On Balance was awarded the Forward Prize in 2017. She has served as Belfast Poet Laureate (2013-2014) and is currently Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts at Newcastle University.

 

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Commission ‘Altered Nature’ with David Wheatley, Mary Jean Chan, Isaiah Hull, Jane Burn and music from the Chuva Guitar Duo: 21 March 2020

EVENT CANCELLED

A free poetry and music event at the Whitworth Art Gallery on 21 March 2020 (2.30-4.00).

This is our annual commission event; poets David Wheatley, Mary Jean Chan, Isaiah Hull and Jane Burn have been invited to participate in a poetry commission ‘Altered Nature’.

As 21st March is #WorldPoetryDay Manchester City of Literature will be live streaming some of our readings and also holding a short tree planting ceremony immediately after the event which you are all invited to, it will be held just outside in Whitworth Park to celebrate setting down roots for poetry in Manchester. There will also be readings from poets John McAuliffe and Aisha Mirza.

Everyone welcome. All areas of the Gallery are accessible and there are several parking bays on Denmark Road for disabled visitors.

David Wheatley

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published four collections of poetry with Gallery Press and, more recently, The President of Planet Earth with Carcanet. He has also edited the poetry of Samuel Beckett for Faber and Faber, and written an academic study, Contemporary British Poetry (Palgrave, 2015). He has reviewed widely for the TLS, Guardian, LRB and other journals, and lives with his family in rural Aberdeenshire.

Mary Jean Chan

Mary Jean Chan is a London-based poet from Hong Kong. She is an editor of Oxford Poetry and a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University. She came Second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2019, and won the 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for her collection’s title poem. Flèche (Faber & Faber, 2019). Her collection Flèche won the Costa Poetry Prize 2019.

Isaiah Hull

Isaiah Hull is a noir writer from Old Trafford, exploring and challenging the extremities of self with image, word and soul whether on page or stage.

 

Jane Burn

Jane Burn lives with her family for eight months of the year in a self-sustained wooden cottage on the Northumberland border which they fully restored using almost wholly reclaimed or recycled materials. Her love of nature is reflected in her poems which have been published in many magazines including Poethead, The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Under the Radar, Crannog, Strix and Butcher’s Dog to name a few. Her work has appeared in anthologies from The Emma Press, Valley Press, Seren, Fairacre Press and Beautiful Dragons. Her poems have been placed, shortlisted and longlisted in thirty-eight national and international poetry competitions and have been nominated for the Forward and Pushcart Prize.

The Chuva Guitar Duo

The Chuva Guitar Duo was founded in 2018 by Manchester-based guitarists Rafael Onyett and Borna Kuca. The duo studied at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of the internationally renowned classical guitarist Craig Ogden. Since commencing their studies at the college, the duo have performed across the UK, at venues including the Bury Parish Church, Instituto Cervantes and the Royal Northern College of Music.

Duo Chuva is also part of a larger, established collective that collaborate with professional dancers – the Chuva Collective. The collective offers exciting performances of live music and dance, adding a unique twist to some of the more celebrated works of classical and Latin music.

Video Recording – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD90CaEg1mQ

 

 

 

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Workshop with David Wheatley: 21 March 2020

WORKSHOP CANCELLED

We are pleased to host a workshop with David Wheatley on Saturday 21 March 2020, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Everyone welcome. All areas of the Gallery are accessible and there are several parking bays on Denmark Road for disabled visitors.

The fee is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once your place has been confirmed payment can be made by cheque or by using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

David Wheatley

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published four collections of poetry with Gallery Press and, more recently, The President of Planet Earth with Carcanet. He has also edited the poetry of Samuel Beckett for Faber and Faber, and written an academic study, Contemporary British Poetry (Palgrave, 2015). He has reviewed widely for the TLS, Guardian, LRB and other journals, and lives with his family in rural Aberdeenshire.

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