Closing Date: 30 June 2013 Details: For previously unpublished poems in English language in any style, on any subject up to 50 lines long. Poems entered must also not be under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere and may not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Eligibility: Poets of all ages,
Closing Date: 20th March 2013Entries are now being accepted for the maiden African Prisons Project Poetry and Short Story Competitions. These are Excel for Charity competitions administered by Eastern Light EPM International in support of African Prisons Project, a national charity working to bring justice, dignity and hope to men, women and children in prisons
Closing Date: 31-March-2013 For original, previously unpublished short stories in English Language on any subject, in any style, up to 1500 lines long (excluding title). Stories entered should also not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.
Closing Date: 31-March-2013 For original, previously unpublished poems in English Language on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long (excluding title). Poems entered should also not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Poets of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter. Prizes:
Closing Date: 30 June 2013
Details: For previously unpublished poems in English language in any style, on any subject up to 50 lines long. Poems entered must also not be under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere and may not be entered into another competition running at the same time.
Eligibility: Poets of all ages, gender and nationality living anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.
Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third), £10 x 3 (High Commendation) + Publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine.
Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7 and £22/10 poems.
Judge: Claire Askew author of The Mermaid and the Sailors.
Contact: Enter online or download Entry Form (for postal entries) at http://www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry
Postal Entries: Cheques/Postal Orders in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB.
JUDGE’S REPORT BY GABRIEL GRIFFIN
The beginning was easy – a handful of poems had the poet’s name below and I had to disqualify them –please remember competition entries must not bear any name or other mark of identification! Then I turned to the bulk of the poems and the selection process proved far more difficult. It is clear that the standard of poems entered into competitions has improved enormously in recent years, due, I guess, to wider reading, to workshops and creative writing courses – or to all three. I read all the poems with interest and at least twice before coming up with a long list.
(One point I wish to make regarding layout – a font that is too large (16 point) is almost as tiring to read as one too small, and double spacing in a poem is usually unnecessary. Ideally use Times font size 12, with 1.15 line spacing and reasonably wide margins.)
An open theme ensured a wide variety of subject matter, including quite a shocking number of distressing poems relating episodes of domestic abuse. (Very often in these latter poems the strong emotions obviously felt overwhelmed the poetry – it’s understandable.) There were poems about personalities: Edith Piaf, Mozart’s sister, Keats, Mrs Darwin and one referring to Jimmy Saville, as well as lighter ones about dancing, amber, rivers, trees, and the more serious subjects of birth and death. Once upon a washday is a poem likely to be quickly eliminated from most competitions since it is in rhyme and metre and the subject sounds rather old-fashioned, but it was a pleasure to read. I also liked Day Trip, Gap, Building Blocks, Moth, The Honey Times (a comforting poem about old age) and The Seafarer, a poem well-constructed. And others. All made for fascinating reading – but also for difficulty in deciding which to list and which to reject.
Long list (in random order)
By the 0ld Lock-Gate; Not Now, Not Yet; On the Cards; Origami; Recital on the Perfumer’s Organ; Book Louse Lace; On meeting Jean Paul Sartre; At the Barber’s; For love of a burning bush; Swan on the A46; The World Begins at the Kitchen Table;
All these were well-written. By the Old Lock Gate and Not Now, Not Yet, describe episodes of violence, the first in essential language the drowning of a puppy by boys, watched in silent horror by much younger boys afraid to intervene. The persona in the second is a suicide bomber, a monologue reminiscent of Carol Ann Duffy’s Education for Leisure. Another monologue, On the Cards, well-written, with only two long sentences for the 29 lines, begins and ends neatly with the identical phrase. I liked Origami, the folding of paper to produce birds, rabbits, frogs, is beautifully described. A plethora of delicious scents flows from the Recital on the Perfumer’s Organ; Book Louse Lace is a small gem of a poem. On Meeting Jean Paul Sartre describes that meeting in a concise, rather amusing way – loved “Simone de Beauvoir was in the background so we couldn’t say much”. The subject matter of At the Barber’s is just that, a good description of the barbers and of the hair-cutting. More mysterious is For love of a burning bush that reads rather like an admonition to someone seeking a mystical experience. Both Swan on the A46 and The World Begins at the Kitchen Table are descriptions of past happenings remembered. In the first poem the person’s mind shifts the simile she originally employed for the fallen swan (that of an angel) to “a ghost, or soul/that of a child who has left home”. The second is written from the point of view of children witnessing in silence their father’s violence towards their mother and ends with the line “God was Dad’s friend and we knew it”.
Short list (in random order)
To Whom Crime is a Theory; Half-Gone; Squat; The Teacher’s Lot; Meeting Point; The Ghost of Banquo Speaks; Mr Micawber writes to Mrs Micawber, from King’s Bench Debtors’ Prison; What historians, vicars, geographers and mapmakers can’t help being dumb about, but the locals know.
To Whom Crime is a Theory is a political poem, a deeply-felt admonition to those in power to face up to reality and do something about effectively resolving crime, ending “The day approaches when you will ring 999/Only to find yourselves in a dialling queue/Your wait enlivened by mood music”.
Half-Gone is a very well-sustained metaphor for old ideas; a short poem – only 9 lines – but extremely vivid: “The old ideas…held together/dangerously with board and barbed wire”.
Squat is a poem about fear. A woman is alone with her baby in a squat. She has come from another country, doesn’t know the language of the country she is in, daren’t go out and is terrified: “in the night/ the animals and peering faces peeled themselves/from the despairing plaster and/ danced into the air, scurrying dimly around the squat”. This poem makes one wonder how many women are in a similar terrible situation. A note: the poet has capitalized the initial letter of most lines but not all; please be consistent, either all lines are capitalized or only those following a full stop.
The Teacher’s Lot is in rhyme and ‘reports’ children’s speech as the teacher hears it, “I’ve got a calculator like what adds/so I won’t have to do it in me ‘ead”. Notwithstanding the incorrect grammar, the teacher predicts in each case a future profession for the student. An amusing, original, most enjoyable and optimistic poem.
Meeting Point is a fine sonnet, employing the image of a tiger to illustrate the options available to all of us, “One way the grazing herd, one way the gun – “; choices, however, whose desired outcomes may well be annulled by fate.
The Ghost of Banquo Speaks has Banquo ranting in chain-rhymed quatrains against Macbeth, Lady M and the witches, an extremely well-written formal poem.
Mr Micawber writes to Mrs Micawber, from King’s Bench Debtors’ Prison is very enjoyable. Micawber, fearing a pauper’s grave, in his letter to his wife, composes his epitaph: “Here lies Micawber, dead and cold as flint/lived well, loved much, spent more, so perished – skint.” But ends optimistically, just like the figure of Micawber.
What historians, vicars, geographers and mapmakers can’t help being dumb about, but the locals know is about those mentioned in the title not knowing where in that area – a “a coccyx on the Pennine spine” and a “god-forsaken place” – rises the river Trent, and ends, in contrast with the prosaic body of the poem, with the lyrical lines ( employing lots of gurgling ‘l’ sounds) “where the daughter of the water-god/ girds up her loins, lifts her head/and trills till her heart spills out”.
Prize-winners and Highly Commended
Choosing from the final poems – my short-short list – was extremely difficult, they were all deserving to be winners.
The contenders – seven for five prizes: Intruders and Thieves; Kite-surfer; Darwinius masillae; My Private Collection. The Lost Library of Jesi; To Iken and back; Stoughton Church.
Intruders and Thieves has some lovely images: two stone owls “under the cherry tree/veiled in every tumbling blossom which drifts/at the end of spring” act as guardians to keep out intruders. But they failed, the ‘you’ in the poem – the husband? – lets one in. The poet doesn’t explain if the intruder is a betrayal or, perhaps, death.
Kite-surfer is an intriguing poem and every line is delightful, each word chosen with extreme care. It is written from the point of view of observers who see a surfer “lift over waves/your kite above you like a segment of moon” A poem about endeavor and failure, of longings and loss, and ends “A long while/ you lie prostrate upon the water till the moon/loops and climbs, lifts you up in its shadow.”
Darwinius masillae recounts of fossils found in a quarry that the poet sees as “a time-line”, the fossils “entries in a journal of millennia” and one, that of the poem’s title, “ a creature with opposable thumbs/etched on the ancient rock/reaches out, takes our hand.”
My Private Collection is about a museum – or is this really a dream or, perhaps, the poet’s mind – in which the poet searches for something he can’t name through “an aisle of whale-ribs” and rooms with cases “where dogfish hang suspended like lifeboats”. A grim Darwinian-museum ambience with some extremely vivid images; a very disturbing poem, ending “Once outside I might hear on the wind/the voices of rain which are also the voices of children. I might remember/what I left to wait like clagged boots at the door.” (N.B. ‘clagged’: while I understood this word to mean clotted with mud or similar, it is, according to the Urban Dictionary, also used to describe someone who is ‘suffering from symptoms of memory loss or disconnection from society”. Here the latter definition fits nicely!)
The Lost Library of Jesi consists of seven couplets describing men carefully dismantling a library of antique books and papers and finding behind the shelves a sealed room., with “columns fallen under a hemispheric dome/shadows curled asleep in empty niches along the walls.” The poem ends with “the men crawled inside that chamber’s deepest quiet/where one or two still could hear the beating of a heart.” As far as I can ascertain (Google), although Jesi is the name of an actual Italian town, the lost library of the title never existed, so it is a delightful conceit on the part of the poet.
In To Iken and Back the poet returns after thirty years to the cove where she (I’m guessing the poet is a she) went boating as a child. It is told masterfully (in 45 lines with no stanza breaks), the present and recollections of the past flowing easily in and out of the poem like the tides in the cove that is “…full now, washed with grey/to a perfect scallop”. It ends “…you have/ forgotten nothing and it is not sad/ the river narrows and widens again/ but everyone you loved is still with you.”
Stoughton Church, is about going to a church where there had been a function a couple of weeks earlier – a wedding, a funeral? – but now the flowers are faded, the celebration long over. The poet attempts to take a photograph but “cannot find the angle/ to take a picture”. This poem has rather sinister overtones, “clouds chase each other”, “weeds hem the base/ of the tower” and then “a rusty stain/trails down as if it had been weeping blood.” A poem to make one wonder what lies beneath the lines – and to shiver.
These are very different poems, each one worthy of a prize. The final choice must, inevitably be subjective. I chose Kite-surfer for its sense of rapture, a perfect description using the minimum of words, and for the way the poem catches the reader up into the poem itself and incites personal reflection; My Private Collection for its sad, grim undertones, the dream-like atmosphere, the vivid description of the windy winter scene outside the windows and the mystery of what is waiting outside that the poet has forgotten; To Iken and back because the poet takes us with her to Iken, we can almost hear the water birds’ cry, the voices rising from the pub and the child from the past laughing; The Lost Library of Jesi because of the sealed room, shadowed and quiet, in which the beating of a long-dead heart may still be heard; Intruders and Thieves because it is beautifully described and for its terrible, mysterious ending.
So, of these seven, the two Highly Commended poems are:
MANDY PANNETT – Intruders and Thieves
CAROLINE MALDONADO – The Lost Library of Jesi
CAROLINE PRICE – To Iken and back
A.C. CLARKE – My Private Collection
CAROLINE MALDONADO – Kite-surfer
Gabriel Griffin. February 2013
Entries are now being accepted for the maiden African Prisons Project Poetry and Short Story Competitions. These are Excel for Charity competitions administered by Eastern Light EPM International in support of African Prisons Project, a national charity working to bring justice, dignity and hope to men, women and children in prisons across Africa. For original, previously unpublished poems up to 50 lines long and short stories up to 1500 words long, on any subject and in any style. Poets and writers of all nationalities living anywhere in the world are eligible to enter. Judges: Bob Beagrie (Poems), Alison Lock (Short Stories).
Closing Date: 31-March-2013
For original, previously unpublished short stories in English Language on any subject, in any style, up to 1500 lines long (excluding title). Stories entered should also not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.
Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third), £10 x 3 (High Commendation).
Publication: The winners and commended stories will receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine.
Fees: £5/1 story, £8/2 stories, £10/3 stories, £12/4 stories.
Judge: Kate Horsley
Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:
Send Cheques/Postal orders payable to SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT with stories, Entry Form or Cover Note to Sentinel Poetry Movement, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB, United Kingdom.
For original, previously unpublished poems in English Language on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long (excluding title). Poems entered should also not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Poets of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.
Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third), £10 x 3 (High Commendation).
Publication: The winners and commended poems will receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine.
Fees: £4/1 poem, £7/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12/5 poems, £16/7 poems, £22/10 poems.
Judge: Oz Hardwick
Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:
Send Cheques/Postal orders payable to SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT with poems, Entry Form or Cover Note to Sentinel Poetry Movement, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB, United Kingdom.
ONLY 32 PLACES LEFT. REGISTER TODAY FOR THE SPM PRESENTATION & LAUNCH OF 5 BOOKS
Nnorom Azuonye’s The Bridge Selection – Poems for the Road (Second Edition)
Afam Akeh’s Letter Home & Biafran Nights.
Roger Elkin’s Marking Time.
Mandy Pannett’s All the Invisibles
and the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology 2012 edited by Nnorom Azuonye, Unoma Azuah and Amanda Sington-Williams.
Come and be a part of this event and experience reading from the books and interact with the authors.
Date: Saturday, 9th March 2013
Venue: Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Road, SE1 7AA. (across the road from the Old Vic)
Time: 3pm to 6pm
The venue is very easy to access – just 2 minutes from Waterloo Station. There is ample metered parking on The Cut and neighbouring streets.
Need help on the way, call 07812 755 751
This poem has been disqualified following a flood of complaints by people recognised it as being the same poem as The Ice Storm with which Mr Jackson won 1st Prize in the Slipstream Poets Open Poetry Competition 2011.
Closing date for submissions is 30th March 2013.
Would you like to write a one act play for the stage and enter it in a competition where short listed plays are given full performance, judged by the audience, considered for publication and given a written assessment by a publishing company?
The winning playwright will also receive a cash prize of £200
Every play will be read in its entirety by a minimum of two judges and entrants will receive two lots of feedback on request, at no extra charge!
A shortlist of up to ten plays will be drawn up and posted on the Sky Blue website. Local actors and a production team will be assembled by professional directors to rehearse the plays for performance at the Junction Theatre in Cambridge 6th and 7th July 2013 where the audience will vote for the winner.
Plays must be submitted on line and full details can be found on our website http://skybluetheatre.com/newplaywriting.php
SHORT STORY CONTEST: BETHLEHEM WRITERS ROUNDTABLE SHORT STORY AWARD
Closing Date: 15-January-2013
As of October 15, we are now accepting submissions of short fiction or memoir
(2000 words or fewer) on the theme of “WINTER’S TALE” or “SPRING STORY” for the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award.
In addition to a $200 prize, the first place winner’s story will be considered for print publication in the Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC’s upcoming anthology. Our previous publication, A Christmas Sampler: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales (2009), won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Best Anthology and Best Short Fiction.
Second place will receive $100 + publication in the BWG Writers Roundtable on-line literary magazine
Third place will receive $50 + publication in the BWG Writers Roundtable on-line literary magazine
Honorable Mentions may also be published in the BWG Writers Roundtable on-line literary magazine in a month selected by the editors.
SWALE LIFE POETRY COMPETITION (JANUARY 2013)
Closing Date: 31-January-2013
For original, previously unpublished poems in English Language, on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long. This competition is open to all poets regardless of nationality, living anywhere in the world. Judge: Derek Adams
Prizes: £100 (First), £50 (Second), £30 (Third), £10 x 2 (High Commendation).
The winners and commended poems will receive first publication in Swale Life magazine (online)
Fees: £3 per poem, £12 for 5, £16 for 7, £22 for 10 poems.
Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or print out an Entry Form for postal entries at:
Or send your poems with a cover note titled ‘Swale Life Poetry, January 2013’, together with a cheque/postal order for the applicable payment in favour of EASTERN LIGHT EPM INTERNATIONAL to: Eastern Light EPM International, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB, United Kingdom