Stanza Poetry Competition: Tradition

Richard Westcott of the North Devon Stanza is the winner of this year’s Stanza Competition for his poem ‘A Traditional Cure’. Penelope Shuttle said of Richard’s poem ‘There’s not a wasted word. The poem is direct, unambiguous, shocking. ‘

We received 384 poems on the theme of TRADITION from 232 poets for this year’s Stanza Poetry Competition, and each poet is a member of a Poetry Society Stanza. The poems were sent in anonymously and Penelope Shuttle, our judge, read every one. You can read all the winning poems on the Stanza Poetry Competition page, along with Penelope’s comments on the top three.

Our joint Runners-Up are:

  • ‘Landfall at daybreak’ by Helen Overell (Mole Valley) 
  • ‘The Cake Mixture’ by Leah Larwood (Suffolk)

Penelope has Commended ten other poems:

  • ‘Let’s Burn the Lot’ by Rob Miles (York)
  • ‘To bring me luck’ by Josephine Corcoran (Trowbridge)
  • ‘To Kill a Spider’ by Wendy Klein (Reading)
  • ‘Ariadne’s dandelions’ by Eleni Cay (Real Poets, Manchester)
  • ‘North of all countries’ by Julie Corbett (Hull)
  • ‘Appleland’ by Lesley Ingram (Herefordshire)
  • ‘against a wolf at the door’ by Helen Jayne Gunn (South Leicestershire)
  • ‘Trawlermen’ by Jennie Carr (Oxford 2)
  • ‘The Journey Home’ by Eleni Cay (Real Poets, Manchester) *2nd poem*
  • ‘Folklore from 35,000 Feet’ by Janet Lancaster (South Leicestershire)

Thank you so much to everyone who entered – may your ‘Tradition’ poems go on to prosper in magazines, competitions, anthologies and poetry collections!

Penelope Shuttle
Penelope Shuttle

Penelope Shuttle lives in Cornwall. She has published twelve full collections of poems, her most recent being Will You Walk A Little Faster? (Bloodaxe Books, May 2017); this collection was an Observer Poetry Book of the Month. She is Committee Member of the Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival Committee, and a Board Member of the Trustees of the Charles Causley Society. Her next publication is Lzrd, (in collaboration with Alyson Hallett), from Indigo Dreams, October 2018.



History of the competition

The annual Stanza Competition began in 2007 and is open exclusively to Stanza members who are also Poetry Society members. Free entry. Prizes: The winning poet is given the choice of a free Poetry Prescription or a year’s Poetry Society membership – or the equivalent. There are two joint runners-up and ten commended poets. The theme for the competition is the antithesis or balance to that year’s National Poetry Day theme.

Previous winners

2017: Konstandinos Mahoney (Barnes & Chiswick), judged by Andy Croft
2016: Pat Winslow (Oxford 2 Stanza), judged by Ros Barber
2015: Graham Burchell (Exeter Stanza), judged by Jo Bell
2014: Robin Houghton (Brighton Stanza), judged by Les Robinson
2013: Jan Bay-Petersen (Cambridge Stanza), judged by Neil Rollinson
2012: Angela Stoner (Penzance Stanza), judged by John Siddique
2011: Julia Webb (Norwich Stanza), judged by Carrie Etter
2010: Michael Swan (Oxford Stanza),  judged by Sheenagh Pugh
2009: Julie Lumsden (Nottingham Stanza),  judged by Philip Gross
2008: Rich Goodson (Nottingham Stanza),  judged by Eleanor Cooke
2007: Emma Danes (Cambridge Stanza),  judged by Roddy Lumsden