Poetry Society Members 1, 2 and 3 in Bare Fiction Prize

Bare Fiction Poetry Prize

Poetry Society Members Gaia Holmes, Jane Lovell and Mary Jean Chan were first, second and third in this year’s Bare Fiction Prize, judged by Helen Mort.

Helen said of the winners:

“Third place went to ‘At The Castro’ by Mary Jean Chan, a poem ‘for Orlando’. I loved the way this poem’s breathless narrative is political without preaching, how it foregrounds the intimacy of touch, of knowing another person’s skin, how any act of love is also an ‘act of faith’. It’s a shape-shifting, unselfconscious poem that reminded me what it feels like to dance. In second place was Jane Lovell’s startling, quivering ‘Perspective in a Hare’s eye’. It was the ‘anti-matter moon’ in this poem that first caught me in its glare. The writing fizzes with acute visual detail, offering a dizzying sense of perspective. It is a poem attuned to minute observations, hanging on a ‘grassblade of decision’. The winning piece, ‘Guests’ by Gaia Holmes, just refused to let me rest from the first time I read it. The opening immediately disconcerted me — the precision of ‘liver-red light’, the almost-casual invocation of ‘the dead’. The poem develops into an intimate and compelling portrait of someone fending off darkness, ‘coaxing back / the good things / we have lost’. There’s not a dull moment in this poem, every word is working hard from the ‘stewing’ bed sheets in the second stanza to the ‘lavendered / guest rooms’ we’re ushered into at the end.”

Fellow Poetry Society Member Claire Collison was Highly Commended, and among the Commended Poets were Members John Fennelly, David Van-Cauter, Tania Hershman and former Foyle Young Poet Rowena Knight.

Full results

1st Prize (£500): Gaia Holmes, Guests
2nd Prize (£200): Jane Lovell, Perspective in a Hare’s eye
3rd Prize (£100): Mary Jean Chan,  At the Castro

Highly Commended x 2 (£25):

Claire Collison, Keeping Borzoi
Joanne Key, The Scrap Man


Tom Sastry,  A love poem for autumn
Rowena Knight, Tokens
Tom Jenks, eyebrows
John Fennelly, Eucharist
David Van-Cauter, Mirror Lake
Tania Hershman, Advice for the Traveller
Marta Kowalewska, Dream Dictionary

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13 March 2017