'The posh mums are boxing in the square' was the winner of the 2018 National Poetry Competition.

From the judges: "It seems unfair at times that poetry, one of the chief articulators of our deepest sentiments, should be required in the same breath to avoid sentimentality. But when you see it done, as it is done so well in ‘The posh mums are boxing in the square’ it takes your breath away – a mother reimagined into life, risen from her bed and given boxing gloves to fight off a terrible illness. The title and the set up are so wonderfully absurd, we are led smiling into a poem that hits us in our own gut with its devastating gravitas." - Kei Miller

The posh mums are boxing in the square

by Wayne Holloway-Smith

roughing each other up    in a nice way
This is not the world into which I was born
           so I’m changing it
I’m sinking deep into the past and dressing my own mum
in their blue spandexes
svelte black stripes from hip to hem
and husbands with better dispositions toward kindness
or at least    I’m giving her new lungs
I’m giving her a best friend    with no problems and both of them pads
some gloves to go at each other with    in a nice way
I’m making it a warm day for them but also
I’m making it rain
the two of them dapping it out in long shadows
I’m watching her from the trees grow
strength in her thighs    my mum
grow strength in her glutes my mum
her back taught upright
her knees
and watching her grow no bad thing in her stomach no tumour
her feet do not hurt to touch    my mum she is hopping
sinews are happening
wiry arms developing their full reach
no bad thing explodes

sweat and not gradual death    I’m cheering
no thing in her stomach no alcohol
no cigarettes with their crotonaldehyde let my dad keep those
no removal of her womb
– and I’m cheering her on in better condition
cheering she is learning to fight for her own body
in spandex her new life
and though there is no beef between them
if her friend is gaining the upper hand
I will call out from the trees
          her name
                          Christine!
and when she turns    as turn she must
my mum           in the nicest possible way
can slug her right in the gut

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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Rather over excited to be hosting @valleypress at the @boulevardsoho this Sunday at 4.30pm. With readings from @dartford @deaktweets @lionesspoet and Adham Smart. Please come and join us. boulevardtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/sunda… Spread the word! #poetry #poetrycommunity @PoetrySociety Retweeted by The Poetry Society

@Rajeevbalasu @ThatSadieJones @CCriadoPerez @ZaweAshton @HelenMort @mark_haddon @ThatKerryHudson @francescasegal @tinysunbird #Day12 of the #ChattoAdventCalendar is 'Surge' by Jay Bernard, winner of The Ted Hughes Award 👇 'Bernard’s poems sing with outrage and indignation, with fury and passion...They have brio, they have brilliance, they are breathtakingly brave' – Jackie Kay penguin.co.uk/books/111/1116… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

"the river is drunk; reeling, it tosses the sad poet's prow to the white moon" Day 13 for the #FoyleYoungPoets Advent Calendar and Thomas Frost takes the plunge with 'The Drowning of Li Po' @youngpoetsnet @chrisriddell50

test Twitter Media - "the river is drunk;
reeling, it tosses
the sad poet's prow
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Day 13 for the #FoyleYoungPoets Advent Calendar and Thomas Frost takes the plunge with 'The Drowning of Li Po'

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@chrisriddell50 https://t.co/mYwUzIZg26

we should be careful of each other, we should be kind while there is still time Philip Larkin Retweeted by The Poetry Society

test Twitter Media - RT @PoetrySociety: we should be careful

of each other, we should be kind
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Philip Larkin https://t.co/VkK32Pr9hw

For reasons outside of my control this month's Farrago show has been moved from the regular second Friday slot to Saturday, 21st December. Many thanks to the @PoetrySociety Cafe for the new date! Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Published quarterly by the @PoetrySociety, The Poetry Review has been home to the world's best contemporary poetry since 1912! Institutions can subscribe to the fully-searchable modern archive that includes prestigious poetic contributions here: bit.ly/2sjiGlR ✍🏼 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

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Today I sent over my recorded face for 'Vessels', my commemorative @canalrivertrust poem for @thepoetrysociety (celebrating 250 years of the wondrous waterways of Brum and Wednesbury ⚓🌊) and my inner-theatre kid still struggles to stare into a camera lens, but hey! I exist! 1/2 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Is this the most famous photograph of poets ever taken? slate.com/culture/2019/1… Stephen Spender, Edith Sitwell, Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell - AND Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal...

Our Lisbon Stanza group @PoetrySociety were invited to write poems for a photographic exhibition in Cascais which launched yesterday! Retweeted by The Poetry Society