The competition winners selected by Kei Miller
First Prize: ‘Happiness’ by Kathryn Bevis
Second Prize: ‘Night in Black and Gold’ by Lauren Garland
Third Prize: ‘The Wonder’ by Anna Kisby
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
’Brother Lawrence explains his coming to faith’ by Lydia Harris
‘How to be a Mystic’ by Pauline Plummer
THE WINNING POEMS
First Prize: Kathryn Bevis
Kathryn Bevis is an emerging poet and educator. She is founder of The Writing School in Winchester and hosts a Poetry for Wellbeing project for service users of the mental health charity Mind, funded by Arts Council England. Kathryn was a runner up in the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry, 2019.
After Terence Hayes
It’s in the damp whorl of biscuit-scented hair on the—–nape
of a newborn or in the mint of Sunday new potatoes which—–shine
under their lick of butter. It’s watching for the—–phases
of the moon, the intentional way it swells and arcs, shrinks and—–spins;
it is your breath’s humidity in this bed of ours, a solid—–ship
that rocks us in the dark, or in the steam that rises from the compost—–heap
on winter evenings. It’s in the winking silk of a spider’s web against the misted—–pane
or in coffee, sweetened with its glob of honey, drunk outdoors in smoking—–sips
from the Thermos lid. It’s in our sense that, whatever—–happens
now is who we might become, this walk together in the woods, these plump—–shapes
of dripping malachite moss, that fiddlehead of the fern’s curled—–spine.
There is a video of Kathryn reading her poem here
Second Prize: Lauren Garland
Lauren Garland is a student on the MA programme in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her recent work explores friendship and visual art. Lauren’s poetry has been published in magazines including Butcher’s Dog and Poetry Salzburg Review. She was commended in the 2018 McLellan Poetry Prize and her collaboration with composer Aaron Breeze won the 2019 Rosamond Prize. Lauren is on Twitter as @GarlandLauren
Night in Black and Gold
After James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Tonight I leaned at the office window as slate grey smoke
choked an ash white sky—-the fire at the recycling plant
on Frederick Road—-it drew me back to this nocturne—-the night
in black and gold—-those clouds hurling their moods around
like frustrated artists—-I swear I see figures in the water
reflected somehow but it doesn’t make sense—-and a phoenix
or a ghost ship exploding—-you reckon they’re fireworks
you’re probably right—-we hover like this by any given
masterpiece—-at any tower block window—-colouring the world
over half pints of ale—-remember our night in the ‘70s club
the minutes we spent sketching tangerines—-I showed you
my scribbles in orange and grey—-you taught me to shade
it was cold—-still December—-we necked Campari—-shimmied
round our bar stools to Stevie Wonder—-some guy
took our picture—-and later—-huddled at the bus stop—-we burned
through a couple of Marlborough Gold—-scorched the black canvas
There is a video of Lauren reading her poem here
Third Prize: Anna Kisby
Anna Kisby is a Devon-based poet, archivist and author of the pamphlet ‘All the Naked Daughters’ (Against the Grain Press, 2017). She is currently a Research Associate in Creative Writing at Bristol University. Her poem ‘The Wonder’ was written for the project Creative Histories of Witchcraft 1790-1940. You can learn more about this project at: https://creativewitchcraft.wordpress.com/
Louise Lateau, stigmatic, 1850-1883
There was no blood.
There was no mud
upon her hem.
There was no floor.
She walked on air
There was no door.
There was no time
for awe. No needles
raining from the sky.
She did not lie. She did not
cry. There was no salt.
Dust did not dance
in sunlight when
the shutters were not
drawn. She did not wear
a coronet, a daisy chain,
There was no hope
so green it pricked
the hills. There were no bells
of church or far-off herd.
No stink of flock. There was
no clot. She did not fall.
There was no call
for you to come.
You should not look.
There was no talk
of fraud, no thought
but Lord. She did not
remember the nights
we did not feed her.
There was no bread
inside her sleeve, nor razor
up her glove. She
was not dead.
She never lived. No doubt
there was no doubt.
there was wonder.