Competition 2019

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.

 

 

 

 

Happiness
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/

 

The Wonder
Louise Lateau, stigmatic, 1850-1883

There was no blood.
There was no mud
upon her hem.
There was no floor.
She walked on air
or not.

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,
a crown.

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.
No wonder
there was wonder.

OUR 2019 COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED.  THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN INFORMED.

 

 

We are pleased to announce the 7th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

OUR JUDGE FOR 2019 WILL BE KEI MILLER

Kei Miller is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and broadcaster. His many books include the novel Augustown (W&N, 2016) and poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet, 2014) which won the Forward Prize (Best Poetry Collection of 2014). In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow and is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. Kei Miller is represented by Renaissance One

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

Kei Miller 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: 13 March 2019

Winners will be informed by 2 May 2019 and will be invited to read alongside Kei Miller at the prize awarding ceremony on the afternoon of Saturday 18 May 2019 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. If you have not been notified by 2 May 2019, 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 must be in English, typewritten in single space, font size 12. Please begin each poem on a new page but multiple online entries should be contained in a single document.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but 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 application form.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by 13 March 2019, (online entries may be submitted up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT); postal entries must be received in our mailbox no later than 13 March 2019). Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER

ENTER BY POST

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed application form (see the link below):

Competition Application Form 2019

  • Please post the completed Competition Application form and poems to: Poets & Players Poetry Competition, Poetry Dene, 16 Clifton Street, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 5DY.
  • If you wish to receive confirmation of your entry please enclose a prepaid envelope.
  • Poems must be printed on separate, numbered sheets, word processed (or typed) and clearly legible (single spaced and font size 12).
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the application form.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Please do not send cash. Postal entries must be paid by cheque or postal order (only email entries may use PayPal). Please make payable to ‘Poets & Players’ and send together with your poem/s and Competition Application form to the address above.

ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed application form (see the link below):

Competition Application Form 2019

Please email the completed Competition Application 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 application 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, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the application form.
  • 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 application form.
      • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Application Form; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information); cheque or postal order made payable to ‘Poets & Players’ (if submitting by post); PayPal reference (if submitting by email).

COPYRIGHT

Entrants retain copyright of their poem, however, we would hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners reading at the awards ceremony for our website, and to publish the winning poems on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery for one year after the competition.

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