Before the winners are announced in March for 2018’s competition, a chance to hear National Poetry Competition 2017 commended poets Jane Slavin and Joseph Butler, whose poems last year reached the top 10 out of over 13,000 entries. They will read alongside poet Hannah Lowe, one of the three judges of that year’s competition, who will be reading from her new chapbook The Neighbourhood, and Alison Brackenbury, also a former National Poetry Competition judge, reading from her Selected Poems.
Jane Slavin works as a communications officer for Plymouth City Council. She finds that poetic inspiration can come from anything, including Tom Daley parking outside her house, office diets, iPhones, the news. Her work has appeared in publications including Poetry24 and Shooter. She has performed at events in Devon and belongs to a Poetry School group.
Joseph Butler is a blacksmith, boatbuilder, poet and nurse. His work reflects a lifelong interest in the links between creativity and wellbeing. He leads participatory arts events across a range of media and has run creative writing workshops in schools, prisons, hospitals and colleges of higher education. He lives on a narrowboat on the South Oxford Canal.
Hannah Lowe was named in 2014 as one of 20 Next Generation Poets by The Poetry Book Society. Her two full poetry collections, Chick (2013) – shortlisted for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes – and Chan (2016), were both published by Bloodaxe. Her fourth chapbook The Neighbourhood will be published in January 2019 by Outspoken Press.
Alison Brackenbury has published nine collections of poetry. The first, Dreams of Power, (Carcanet, 1981) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The most recent, Skies, (Carcanet, 2016) was chosen by The Observer as one of its Poetry Books of the Year. Her work has been awarded an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award by the Society of Authors. She was a judge in the 2005 National Poetry Competition. Her recent book Aunt Margaret’s Pudding, a fusion of poetry collection and real-life recipe book, was featured in The Poetry Review 108:4 Winter 2018.