Videos from the launch of 'Poems to Keep', the anthology of poems from the 2017 competition. Alexandra Davis won the competition with 'Stag'. Here she is reading the title poem of her pamphlet, SPROUTS, which we have edited and published for her as part of her prize. It will be on sale from this site from 1st September 2017. Below, Dónall Dempsey reads Shyam Sunder Sharma's poem from the anthology, introducing the evening.
Maggie Sawkins, also below, was one of the guest poets whose poems we included in POEMS TO KEEP.
Hilary Hares, Tony Earnshaw and Catherine Eunson read as short-listed poets, also included in the anthology. All together, 26 contributors read, and the book was thoroughly launched!
This year we, Janice and Dónall Dempsey, selected the winning and commended poems ourselves. We compiled the initial selection of a list of about 100 poems from the 300 or so that were submitted, with relative ease, but selecting the short-list that we wanted to publish in the book was much more difficult, because the average standard of submissions this year was so high.
We were looking for poems that would surprise us, poems that “went somewhere” (many reviewers have spoken about good poems taking the reader on a journey.) Dynamism and movement seem to us essential ingredients of poetry. Interesting phrasing and imagery woven into a coherent (not necessarily formal) structure was another criterion for us as selectors. And above all, we looked for the guiding concept in a poem.
The winning poem, Stag by Alexandra Davis, stood out from the rest on all these counts. The conversational tone with which it begins develops into a story of increasing intensity, as a perception by one protagonist becomes a fully realised experience for his listeners and for us as readers, through the vivid language of the writer. We look forward to publishing a pamphlet for Alexandra this year.
Ian Clarke’s Aunt is a sparely written portrait that presents its subject on several levels: the physical and the spiritual qualities of this woman are interwoven subtly with a hinted back-story of her life. For its economy of means and imaginative language this poem almost became the winner of the competition.
We found it very difficult to decide on the third prize and ended by awarding it jointly to Vasiliki Albedo’s Theory of Change and Lucia Damacela’s Sett Patterns. We will award both of these poets the same small cash prize (advertised as £10 but because of the quality of the work, we will award them £15 each).
There were several other poems submitted whose qualities were so close to those of the winners that we regretted having to choose among this very strong field of entries. We have marked our appreciation of them with the Highly Commended tag.
We’re publishing a total of 55 poems from among the competition entries. This includes an extra poem for each of the winners and commended poets where another of their entries was long-listed.
We’re very sorry that space doesn’t allow us to include more of the poems that we have read for this competition. It has been an enlightening experience that we look forward to repeating next year. Now our work begins as publishers: the anthology, now entitled POEMS TO KEEP, will be published next month, and launched in Guildford on July 3rd
1st Prize: £50 + a pamphlet of the winner's poems (up to 34 pages) published by Dempsey & Windle
2nd Prize: £25
3rd prize: £10
All longlisted poems are published in
POEMS TO KEEP
this year's anthology was launched in July 2017
LIST OF 2017's WINNERS AND CONTRIBUTORS :
List of prize winners and contributors to ‘Poems to Keep’ Anthology.
Theory of Change
Joint 3rd Prize
Joint 3rd Prize
Another Language Here and Now
The Scent of Them
No Earthly Use
I'll Let You Win
Sentence Repair Centre
OTHER SHORTLISTED POEMS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE ANTHOLOGY
All Things Must Last
Dancing to Silence
On the Rocks
Do Angels Grow Old?
When is a Raven like a Writing Desk?
Are Ziggurats what Foreigners Smoke?
The Shinto Way of Death
For Personal Reasons
The Mausoleums of Mol
Making This Country Great Again
Body v Soul
Nevermore O Tahiti
Apocalypse Sometime or Other
To My Young Sister
fragility is the thing that entrances us
Spring in Spain
Col. Shyam Sharma
The Sea seems Busy Today
There is a shiny black dog
The Kindest Cut
Anthony H Williams
A huge red balloon
Throwing my Keys at the Water's Edge