Fiona Sampson has picked Jonathan Greenhause’s, ‘The fire escape, no longer weighed down’ as the winner of this year’s Ledbury Poetry Competition, with Poetry Society Member Anna Woodford second, for ‘Work’, and third prize going to Dana Alsamsam for ‘Nana Says’.
“This adult competition was among the most difficult I’ve ever had to judge, not because of the sheer number of poems – though there were many – but because there were so many that were of winning calibre. I had many favourites among the last thirty or forty poems to be whittled down: there were many among these that were highly publishable. It’s particularly good to see poetry being entered that’s slightly more expansive or even radical in its techniques, and that so many of the entrants clearly have a deep engagement with poetry. These poets were, I felt, truly participating in the contemporary poetry world. In the end though the winners chose themselves by the sheer communicative power and achievement of their work.”
In the Youth competition, Poetry Society Member Eloise Unerman took first prize for ‘0:42 to Bristol’.
“It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to judge youth poetry competitions. The younger poets, those of broadly junior school age, tend to play joyfully with words and images. The teenagers are astonishingly frank about their emotional worlds. Both remind us how high the stakes for poetry can and should be. It’s astonishing how poetically mature the outstanding entries are, and fascinating to see what poetry these young writers might now be exposed to, to help them develop further.”
4 December 2017