Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2022

Judged by Joshua Bennett & Victoria Kennefick: details here.
 
first prize £2,000
second prize £1,000
third prize £500
plus 20 commendeds
plus all winners read with judges at 2022 prize-night celebration on Mon 5 Dec
 
submit via email by Mon 26 Sep 2022
 
(Check out winners, winning poems & judges’ reports, 2021 & prior, on our previous-winners’ poems page.)
 
judges
 

  • Victoria Kennefick lives in County Kerry, studied at University College Cork, then at Emory University, & Georgia College & State University as part of a Fulbright Scholarship, co-hosts the Unlaunched Books Podcast & is a Listowel Writers Week committee-member. Her 2021 collection Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet) was a ‘best poetry book of the year’ in both Telegraph & Irish Times, in addition to being shortlisted for the 2021 TS Eliot Prize.
  • Joshua Bennett has read at the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama, is Professor of English & Creative Writing at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, & author of Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (Harvard, 2020) & Spoken Word: A Cultural History (forthcoming from Knopf). His poetry collections are The Sobbing School (2016, a National Poetry Series Selection & NAACP Image Award finalist), Owed (2020) & The Study of Human Life (publ. Sep 2022), all from Penguin.

 
judges read all poems submitted  

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Annie Fisher on 5th September

Fountain Poets’ next meeting will be on Monday 5th September at 7pm upstairs at the King’s Head in Wells High Street, with the lovely Annie Fisher of Fire River Poets as Guest Poet. Her latest pamphlet is ‘The Deal’ (Happenstance 2020) – “poems of outlandish comedy undercut by profound seriousness.” – Matthew Paul. There will also be open-mic opportunities as usual.

There will be a collection for Annie’s travel expenses. £3 suggested donation.

A Skiff of Gilded Darkness

What an excellent evening of poetry we had on 1st August! It was lovely to welcome back Jo Waterworth and David Ketelby and to meet Rina May and hear her well observed and crafted short poems. My title is borrowed from Martin Porter’s mysterious poem ‘Pacifica Queen Mab’. The photo is from Shetland, about as far from the Pacific as you can go, but it spoke to me of gilded darkness.

Some dates for your diaries:

Fountain Poets’ next meeting will be on Monday 5th September at 7pm upstairs at the King’s Head in Wells High Street, with the lovely Annie Fisher of Fire River Poets as Guest Poet. Her latest pamphlet is ‘The Deal’ (Happenstance 2020) – “poems of outlandish comedy undercut by profound seriousness.” – Matthew Paul. There will also be open-mic opportunities as usual.

We shall be having two meetings in October. David Niven will chair an open-mic meeting on 3rd October, and on 17th October (after the Wells Litfest Poetry Competition prizegiving and readings 2-5pm in Cedars Hall) we’ll have a Festival Fringe Binge, with two guest readers, Fountain poet Michelle Diaz, the Chaired Bard of Glastonbury, and Fire River Poet Graeme Ryan, whose stunning collection ‘Valley of the Kings’ was published earlier this year by Coverstory Books. Both meetings are at the King’s Head at 7pm. There will be open-mic reading opportunities.

Rosie Jackson has sent news of her forthcoming events at Dillington House:
6 October one-day course on poetry writing. ‘How to Write Poems that Matter’.
27 October lunchtime talk/slide show/poetry reading from her Stanley Spencer book. ’Two Girls and a Beehive’ .
4-6 November residential memoir writing course.
All details are on the Dillington House website.

This year’s Tears in the Fence Festival runs from 2nd – 4th September at the Stourpaine Village Hall. The Festival theme is ‘Bewilderment / Be-wildered / Be wild’. There will be readings, talks, discussion, book signings, music, refreshments, and a Festival bookstall. From our group, Mo, Andy and I will be among many others taking part. Details on the festival website.  

Fountain poet Beth Webb will be storytelling in the Bishop’s Palace, Wells on 18th September. Details should soon be on the Palace website.

Before all these events, I (Ama Bolton) shall be one of the readers at Contextual 10 from Coverstory Books on Wednesday 31st August on Zoom. Details here
and on Thursday 1st September at the next Fire River Poets Zoom meeting, when Graeme Ryan (see above) will be the featured poet. See details here.

Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. – Audre Lord.

Bit-players and walk-ons

Eleven of us met at The King’s Head on the eleventh of July! We were treated to some cracking poems. This post has borrowed its title from a poem by Mark.

Come along if you can on Monday, August 1st. at 7pm upstairs in the King’s Head in Wells High Street. Conveniently close to Union Street car park. We finish around 9pm.

You can see “our” Michelle, the Chaired Bard of Glastonbury, performing both words and music at the Bardic Trials on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsSbQ_WCfK

Michelle was also featured in the latest issue of Poetry Wales.

Martin Porter writes “I’m not sure of the interest in the group for this sort of thing, but I have a piece published in Remake 4   https://poetryremake4.wordpress.com/. Remake is an online journal published by John Geraets, based in New Zealand. It offers a forum for contemporary NZ poets (which I appear to be) and works on the format of “Written item – Reflection by writer – Comment by third party”, giving the opportunity for insight in the way a written piece works.”
It’s worth having a look for this remarkable piece of writing by Martin.

Don’t forget to have a look at David’s poetry podcast, https://www.bardwindow.com/  and do think about sending a poem in to him.

A date for your diary: the wonderful Annie Fisher from Fire River Poets will be our guest poet on Monday 5th September, same time, same venue. Plus open-mic.

What we do when we read aloud is to give the poem a new life off the page. If it was worth the time and heartache that went into writing it, surely it is worth taking time to practice reading it aloud. Appreciation of spoken poetry does depend on being able to hear it! It’s not just a matter of reading clearly and not rushing it (though that is a good place to start) but you need to get the meaning across by entering into the spirit of the poem. There’s no need to be afraid. We are all rooting for you. We want to hear what you have to say.
– Bradley Hand

“Embrace the energy of the axe”

We had a wonderful reunion last Monday, seventeen of us in all, including several new faces. Ewan’s daughter Donna was with us and read some of her father’s work. We heard old poems and new, comic poems and political rants, a haiku and a jubilee poem, rhymes and prose-poems: something for everyone.

The next meeting will be at 7pm on Monday 11th July, and thereafter on the first Monday of each month including August (Bank Holiday). All these will be in the upstairs room at the King’s Head in Wells High Street. The back door is in Union Street, convenient for the Union Street car park, which is free in the evening. Meals can be ordered at the bar.

Have you looked through The Bardwindow? Do check out this website and its poetry podcasts. Log in or register to open a free account. Read the poems, post a poem to the website or listen to a podcast.

If you’re going to the Garden Festival in the Bishop’s Palace in Wells next weekend (June 17-19), look out for short, garden-themed poetry performances book-ending the festival at 10am on the Friday (Annie Fisher and Ama Bolton) and on the Sunday at 4.30pm (Tony Watts and Genista Lewes.) I was in the Palace Gardens recently and have never seen them looking so beautiful.

My title is taken from a poem by Claire Coleman, read by her last Monday.

“Most good poems hold some part of their thoughts in invisible ink… Lyric poetry rests on a fulcrum of said and unsaid.” – Jane Hirshfield

Big news!

The Chairing of the Bard of Ynis Witrin

I am thrilled to report that Fountain poet Michelle Diaz is the 15th Bard of Ynis Witrin (Glastonbury). She is a beautiful soul and a brilliant writer who fully deserves this honour.

I am also very happy to report that after a two-and-a-quarter-year interval for you-know-what, the Fountain Poets will be meeting again in person on Monday June 6th at 7pm in the upper room at The King’s Head in Wells High Street (BA5 2AE). Leave a comment below if you would like more information, or to be on the e-mailing list.

Have you looked through The Bardwindow? Do check out this website and its poetry podcasts. Log in or register to open a free account. Read the poems, post a poem to the website or listen to a podcast.

If you’re going to the Garden Festival in the Bishop’s Palace in Wells on the weekend of June 17-19, look out for short, garden-themed poetry performances book-ending the festival at 10am on the Friday (Annie Fisher and Ama Bolton) and on the Sunday at 4.30pm (Tony Watts and Genista Lewes.) I was in the Palace Gardens this week and have never seen them looking so beautiful.

“I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.”
Wisława Szymborska  

Competition news

I have been asked by the organisers to share the following with you.

Closing at midnight this coming Friday, 20th May: Live Canon single poem competition. £1000 first prize. Guest Judge: Rebecca Goss.
Enter here https://livecanon.submittable.com/submit

Closing at midnight on Monday 4th July: Coverstory. Details here https://coverstorybooks.com/2022/04/19/coverstory-books-2022-international-poetry-competition/?fbclid=IwAR07HfoeolB961aUpjv9X8jLc8N3BUPiRKA_Pm1tFRVns2X5RlPU3nj-VDc  Results announced by the end of August, 2022. Max 60 lines. 

Closing at midnight on Sunday 10th July: The McLellan Poetry Prize is awarded as part of the annual McLellan Arts Festival on the Isle of Arran. With eight prizes including a first prize of £1,300; second prize of £450; third prize of £150 and 5 commended poem prizes of £50 each,  the McLellan Poetry Competition provides a major opportunity for aspiring poets to gain recognition.
This year’s judge, Hollie McNish, will present the prizes in person at a special festival event on Sunday 28th August 2022 on the Isle of Arran, to which all prizewinners will be invited to read. Entries close at midnight on Sunday 10th July 2022. Full details and entry forms can be found at Arran Theatre and Arts Trust | Poetry Competition.

The best advice I can offer is this poem by the incomparable Fleur Adcock.

The prize-winning poem

It will be typed, of course, and not all in capitals: it will use upper
and lower case
in the normal way; and where a space is usual it will have a space.
It will probably be on white paper, or possibly blue, but almost
certainly not pink.
It will not be decorated with ornamental scroll-work in coloured ink,
nor will a photograph of the poet be glued above his or her name,
and still less a snap of the poet’s children frolicking in a jolly game.
The poem will not be about feeling lonely and being fifteen
and unless the occasion of the competition is a royal jubilee it will
not be about the queen.
It will not be the first poem the author has written in his life
and will probably not be about the death of his daughter, son or wife
because although to write such elegies fulfils a therapeutic need
in large numbers they are deeply depressing for the judges to read.
The title will not be ‘Thoughts’ or ‘Life’ or ‘I Wonder Why’
or ‘The Bunny-rabbit’s Birthday Party’ or ‘In Days of Long Gone By’.
‘Tis and ‘twas, o’er and e’er, and such poetical contractions will not be
found
in the chosen poem. Similarly cliche´s will not abound:
dawn will not herald another bright new day, nor dew sparkle like
diamonds in a dell,
nor trees their arms upstretch. Also the poet will be able to spell.
Large meaningless concepts will not be viewed with favour: myriad is
out;
infinity is becoming suspect; aeons and galaxies are in some doubt.
Archaisms and inversions will not occur; nymphs will not their fate
bemoan.
Apart from this there will be no restrictions upon the style or tone.
What is required is simply the masterpiece we’d all write if we could.
There is only one prescription for it: it’s got to be good.

Source: Adcock, Fleur (1983) Selected Poems, Oxford: Oxford University Press

The Waste Land Revisited

How differently we might respond to TS Eliot’s groundbreaking poem if he had stayed with his first title, ‘He do the police in different voices.’ And how different our experience would have been if Ezra Pound hadn’t encouraged Eliot to thin the first draft by almost half. Twenty seven writers have been meeting regularly on zoom to unravel Eliot’s notoriously ‘difficult’ poem and prepare a day of readings and discussion for the centenary of its publication in 1922. Sue Boyle traces their challenging journey and talks about the exciting multi-media performance piece which has evolved from their collaborative work. – Sue Boyle

As one of those twenty seven writers, I have been immersed in Eliot’s poem and in our responses to it for months. Much of my recent writing relates to it, directly or indirectly.

The calypso singers are still laughing but the fishermen have thrown down their flowers

And in the captain’s tower
are the poets still at war
Eliot and Pound
turning a line around
deleting a stanza here
adding a fragment there
fine-tuning the sound 
while the great ship goes down?

Ama Bolton

An invitation from Bath Writers & Artists

The morning workshop from 10 to 12 noon is for subscribers. The afternoon readings and activities are open to all. Lunch needs to be booked by 22nd March.

Definitions for Equilibrium:

  • A state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces.
  • Equal balance between any powers, influences etc; equality of effect.
  • Mental or emotional balance; equanimity.
  • Chemistry: the condition existing when a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction proceed at equal rates.
Inukshuk is the Inuit art of balancing rocks

Time to harness your poems to the Plough?

The Plough Prize for Poetry – 2022

INTERNATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION

Now in its nineteenth year, the Plough Prize for Poetry is an international open competition for a poem up to 40 lines on any subject. Deadline 31st March 2022

The competition this year will be judged by acclaimed poet Roger McGough.

1st Prize £1.000,  2nd Prize £500, 3rd Prize £250

Competition is open to everyone, and up to a maximum of 6 poems can be entered.

On-line entry fee £5 per poem. Postal entry fee £6 per poem.

 Poems that have been published or received any poetry prize award prior to March 31st, 2022, are NOT eligible for entry.

Visit  https://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/poetry-prize  for further information on the competition, rules and how to enter.

The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington, Devon.