Judges Report

There was a bumper parcel of entries for this competition, almost 400 poems for Rose and myself to go through. Subject matter varied hugely, including those about relatives, especially grandparents and aunts, to beloved landscapes, and issues of growing older. Because of the Covid 19 lock-down Rose and I could not meet to discuss choices, so all our discussions were done by e-mail. Even more interesting was that when Rose and I initially disclosed our respective lists of the top finalists we had no accordance in our choices at all! So, more e-mails saw us defending/ reconsidering our choices and at last arrived at a happy agreement on the final list and also on the commended and shortlisted poems.

We chose as winner Among your things for its deftness, poignancy, and craft in ‘showing not telling’.

Autun Cathedral, Magi was a delight to both of us, unusually it had a fund of cosmic awe and humour in it and was well handled.

What If was also very well done; the repetition in it enhanced the horror of the subject matter and sent shivers down the spine. Again, a very unusual choice of subject matter.

Finally, it was very hard not to be able to award a prize to each of the Highly Commendeds; they were both strong poems and very well written. The rest of the short list too held some amazing poems, and I think that both Rose and I feel that this was not an easy task we were set.

Thanks to each one of you who sent work in, we really enjoyed reading everything and as always we were presented with some very fine poems to choose from.

Keep on writing, and good luck to all of you.

Gill McEvoy and Rose Cook