Stanza Poetry Competition

We are delighted to announce that Sarah Wimbush from York Stanza is the winner of our 2021 Stanza Competition for her poem ‘Blood Sugar’, chosen by Katrina Naomi.

Our two Joint Runners-up are Claire Booker from Brighton Stanza for ‘Framed Woman’ and Liz McPherson from Heartlines Stanza, Headingley for ‘Outsider (After Adam Zagajewski)’.

Katrina writes ‘I’ve been reading and re-reading hundreds of poems on themes of Afghanistan, art, regret, trees (a huge number of tree-inspired poems), violence against women, and more.

The winner, ‘Blood Sugar’, went into my yes pile immediately. I was exhilarated by its verve and energy, its chatty confidence, its one sentence. I loved how the poem shifted from grammar, to ice creams, to outer space. Brava.

‘Framed Woman’ and ‘Outsider’ are my joint runner-up choices. In ‘Framed Woman’, I enjoyed the extended fish metaphor, ‘This is the odour of her life’, along with the understated whiff of loss. ‘Outsider’ grew on me, moving from the maybe to the definitely, yes, pile over several readings. The importance of sound, the quiet, the insistence of ‘the city’s drone’ are wonderful.

Katrina also gives high commendation to the following poems …

‘Diaspora dream by David Bleiman (Edinburgh and Germany Stanzas), ‘The Infirmary’ by Denise Bundred (Woking Stanza), ‘The Mechanics of Killing A Man’ by Julian Bishop (Palmers Green and Enfield Stanzas), ‘My first job was as a basement’ by Michael Saunderson (North Hampshire Stanza), ‘Inishwallah’ by Michael Shann (Forest Poets Stanza, Walthamstow), ‘Poplars’ by Partridge Boswell (Ireland Stanza), ‘A Rap Over the Knuckles’ by Peter Wellby (High Weald Stanza), ‘Paint Chart’ by Sue Burge (Norwich Stanza), ‘Solitary Lunch’ by Sue Norton (York Stanza), ‘America’ by Virginia Griem (Poetry Teignmouth Stanza),

… and says ‘It’s great to be able to choose 10 highly commended poems, every one has a moment of ‘oooh’ about it, from the sparkle of ‘Solitary Lunch’ to ‘The Mechanics of Killing a Man’.

If your poem wasn’t chosen this time, please keep going, there were so many that very nearly made it. It’s been a pleasure to judge this competition. Congratulations, one and all.’

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Choice’. We had more than 200 poets enter from Stanzas all over the country – thank you for all of your work! This annual competition is open exclusively to Poetry Society Members who are also members of a Stanza.