Archive for the ‘competition’ Category

3030 Poetry Challenge (and I mean challenge) Day 14

this is getting harder and harder. Whether that is because the prompts aren’t prompting anything or because maintaining the momentum is hard, I’m not sure. I know when I started I was off work and staying in Cornwall, right by the sea, just me and my youngest, plus dog. Maybe it’s harder because I’m trying to cram this in between all the usual domestic stuff and day job and poetry job. Well here goes for Day 14…

Prompt for April 14th: Trickle Down


A girl stood on the stage,
or rather, a raised platform installed for this event.
Back straight, hands held by her sides, head high.
The sun cast its light across her hair,
which was reddish-blond.
The room was silent.
Once the scene of balls and parties,
now host to civic meetings
and these few weeks,
a festival of culture.
We gathered to share our skills,
compete for silver cups engraved with names of former winners.
I never hoped that I might be one,
but somehow it was expected,
that we should show up and do our thing,
receive a certificate, a critique.
Here I learned the word ‘adjudication’.

And so she stood,
the girl with golden hair,
and took a breath to start her recitation.
She faltered, stopped.
We watched and saw a pool of golden liquid gather at her feet.
Silence still,
except a gasp from one on our adjudication panel.
The girl cried out and ran the length of the glittering room,
up the aisle between the seats,
the faces of the parents and the teachers and the children.
Each of us then,
performing our set piece,
slightly off centre on the stage,
to avoid the remains of her embarrassment.

I remembered not so many years before, when I,
sat cross legged with the big kids on PE mats at the front of class,
too scared to raise my hand and ask to ‘be excused,’
allowed the rush of warmth to leave me,
sat in it till it was cold.
Played alone all afternoon,
for fear someone would know
the damp patch on the mat,
was made by me.


Winning, losing and taking part.

So, I entered a poetry competition. I don’t often do this and I think perhaps I should. It gives me a focus and a deadline. I work better to deadlines. Some poetry competitions charge an entrance fee, I must admit that puts me off. This one did not, and the prize was an Arvon writing retreat. I have been on 2 Arvon retreats. Arvon weeks cost a lot of money, but they are worth every penny, however if you don’t have £600 spare, then they are a bit out of reach. I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant for my first one and my second one was part funded by Arvon and part funded by The Mouthy Poets, when we had a week arranged specifically for us. The Mouthy Poets are the poetry collective for young people, set up by Deborah Stevenson, and assisted by me with my glorious title of ‘co-director’ or as they often call me ‘Mother Mouthy’.
With the huge carrot of another FREE Arvon experience, I set about writing a poem. The competition was run by Arvon and English PEN, who campaign for freedom to write and freedom to read. The remit was to write a poem about a made up word.

The winner wasn’t me, but I am one of the 30 shortlisted writers who will be published in an ebook, so I am happy about that. Then I found out that the winner was David Grubb, a proper full-on published poet, so I am in good company! All in all, I am encouraged to submit to more competitions, although my suspicious nature will make me do a bit of research before parting with my hard earned cash.

HIs entry was entitled Cribbling

and mine:


Changed by the loss of her.

The hole she leaves behind,
larger than the space she inhabited,
has caused a backdraught
which sucks me
from adult to grown-up.

Shape shifted.

These shoes pinch
my owntwofeet
now I am standing on them.