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  • Results of SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition 2016
  • Last Call - Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2016)

 

SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION

For original, previously unpublished poems in English language on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long.

Closing Date: 30th November, 2016

Judge: Roger Elkin

Prizes: £200 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £20 x 3 (High Commendation), 3 x £10 (Commendation)

Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7, £22/10

Click here to enter competition now

Sentinel Writing & Publishing Newsletter

November 30, 2016
We are pleased to announce the results of the SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition (2016) and the comments on the winning collections by judge Roger Elkin

Third Prize
Landing Stage
Joan Michelson
 
As might be expected from the section titles of this collection – Refugee Voices and Here The World – the poems have almost a cosmopolitan feel, with places such as Brussels, Berlin, Aleppo, Lesbos, Serbia, Bosnia, Syria, Iran, Denmark, Pakistan, Croatia, and central Europe featuring widely. These are poems of displacement voiced by displaced folk: people who have lost home, members of their family, limbs and identity. Many are people of conscience, such as Jewish conscripts, returned war veterans, or children of S.S. officers; others are victims of Chernobyl and mustard gas extermination, and others immigrants - all of whom are managing against the odds to survive in this brutal, broken world. The writing is direct and unfussy, so that these horrors are distanced and reported rather than being sensationalised. There is sentiment without sentimentality, and the ostensible unemotional texture centring on factuality is intensified via its distancing. The epigrammatic poems of Refugee Voices read as if written in a bemused daze, the folk possessed by bewilderment in coming to terms with isolation and hardship. What helps to convey this is the skilful capturing of the speech rhythms of adopted English which in turn echoes the dilemma of communicating across cultures. The detached tone, the fragmentary and epigrammatic structures, and freely-associative imagery make for a moving, heart-searing read.  The poems of Here The World pivot on the belief that “All is memory”. Here, rather ironically, the emphasis of “The World” is on domestic challenges – eating out, cooking Xmas sprouts, recovering from chemotherapy, and coming to terms with mortality, “The surprise of death”. The poems are expressed in the similar unemotional style; and feature close detail conveyed in startlingly-transparent imagery. Despite the revelation of great suffering and pain, the facing up to heartache, these are ultimately optimistic poems. There is much to ponder and to relish in the worlds that this collection reveals.”
 
Second Prize
Splendid in its Silence
Jude Neale
 
The collection’s title denies the author’s articulate commentary on modern living, as poem after poem explores the guilt and purpose that frame relationships. Whether it be in instances of pain, loss, separation, departure, or the finality of death, these are poems which confront the anguish of need, needing, and being needed. These many poems dealing with birth, love and death (whether it is being mother, and child; or of caring for an aged and infirm parent) are juxtaposed with those confronting what the author terms “the secret landscape of my mind”, such as How to Pin Down a Fevered River. Here, as elsewhere, the economy of expression in the description of the world of Nature is skilfully used to capture more than surface meanings. For example, in Wild Berry, we are almost able to savour the fruit. Throughout the collection, the full gamut of poetic craft is evident: the skilled application of repetition, lineation, fresh conceits and images, the use of exact detail ensure the consistent and accurate conveyance of the shifting moods, the play of light, and changing landscapes as the backcloth against which the human predicament takes place. This is brave and bold writing: the technique always rising to meet the demands of the poem’s multifarious and far-reaching concerns.
 
First Prize
Gap Year
Andy Blackford and John Foggin
 
This collection of questioning and explorative poetry is offered not as a master-pupil construct, but as a collaborative joint venture – “a harmonious duet” as the submission sample proposed – each poet inspiring the other in a mutual appreciation and understanding of an individual take on the world. And what a wide-ranging read they offer, from the natural world with detailed observation particularly of bird-life, the skies and seascapes, to education and the arts, especially music and painting; to family members and neighbours; to issues central to life, such as love, suicide and death; and to matters spiritual, centring on Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, and the Padmaloka retreat. Occasionally, these worlds of now and beyondness (enigmatic yet centring on the immediate) are transformed into something approaching a nightmare reality in which the concrete is made disconcertingly abstract, and vice versa. Similarly, several poems employ the strategy of using negatives (sometimes cataloguing them) and transforming them to positive commentaries on the human predicament. However, the application of an almost Metaphysical wit, leavened by touches of humour, serves to make the writing subtle and nuanced: sometimes gently lyrical in its musings; and at other times hard-edged and disturbing in its raw perceptiveness. Both states are explored via a wide range of structures; a palette of richly-appropriate diction which luxuriates in colour; startling imagery; and skilful lineation. This is a candid and honest poetic partnership. Its fruits are of the highest order. I look forward to reading more.   

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The winners of the SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition 2016 have been informed and we are now in discussions to publish their collections in the first quarter of 2017.                                                                                                                    
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SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION

For original, previously unpublished poems in English language on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long.

Closing Date: 30th November, 2016

Judge: Roger Elkin

Prizes: £200 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £20 x 3 (High Commendation), 3 x £10 (Commendation)

Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7, £22/10

Click here to enter competition now


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competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk
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