‘The Marshes’ by Louise Warren is the winner of this year’s Prole Laureate Poetry Competition, judged by poet and editor Kate Garrett. Poetry Society Member Mary Gilonne was one of the runners-up for ‘Extra-marital morning on the edge of nowhere’ and there were Commendations for fellow Members Alicia Fernández, Harriet David, and Charles Lauder, Jnr. Former Foyle Young Poet Laura Potts was one of the Highly Commended Poets.
“My very favourite poems always have three things: musicality, exceptionality, and heart. I love words that chime well together, unforced; I want what is being said (or left unsaid) to make me sit up and take notice; and I want to believe the poet believes in what they’ve said (or left unsaid), whatever ‘it’ happens to be.
I was entranced by ‘The Marshes’ from the first encounter, and loved it more with each subsequent reading. This was my clear winner because it was difficult to remove myself from that world even as I read other poems.
The language in ‘Extra-marital morning on the edge of nowhere’ is simply beautiful, the subject approached from an unexpected angle; if this is about an affair, as the title would suggest, there’s nothing seedy or salacious on offer. This is a tender and achingly real reflection of the flaws and complexities we find in romantic relationships (‘extra-marital’ or otherwise) – ‘There could be drifts of days / like this, and too his coasting certainty in casual moorings.’
There isn’t the space for me to go in depth about the list of commended poems – but they needed to be mentioned and named, because every single one of them stayed with me long after reading them. Each of these eight poems lit up my brain as much as the winner and runners up, but of course there could only be three at the top. I know the commended poems will all go on to do wonderful things, and find homes in brilliant publications.”
9 April 2018