The Waltham Forest Poetry Competition, in its second year, received 600 poems from 300 poets (or thereabouts) on the theme of ‘Where I’m From’ and judge Graham Clifford read every single one. Poetry Society Member Radka Thea Otípková (Czech Republic) has won with her poem ‘Bats’.
Graham Clifford: “As I suspect is often the way, the prize winning and commended poems all have remarkable qualities, making judging very difficult. Style, voice, humour, humanity and a different or nuanced way of seeing and communicating experience, be that actual or imagined, are all in evidence at a high level.”
“(the winning poem) celebrates the oddity of home, and homelands. I don’t know if this is a real experience, or invented, but will find it hard to forget the poet’s exquisite focus on bats pinned up… ‘squealing/not so much with pain/as for the denied flight’.
In second and third place are Poetry Society Members Veronica Aaronson (Newton Abbott) for ‘Emily’s Longing To Have Ash Blonde Hair Begins’, and Charlotte Mackie (London SW2) for ‘Song of the Red Earth Dog’. Among the Commended poets are Poetry Society Members Sarah Doyle (London N22) for ‘Where the heart is not’, Mark Fiddes (United Arab Emirates) for ‘Cornography’, and Jack Houston (London E5) for ‘A New Collective Noun for the Robin’.
The Waltham Forest Local Prize was won by Poetry Society Member Niall Firth for ‘Fox & cubs, Walthamstow Village’, and fellow member Maggie Freeman was third for ‘Where I’m From’.
Foyle Young Poet Lydia Wei (USA) won first and second prize in the Young Poets section for ‘Yǒngxīn’ and ‘playing sza’ respectively, and fellow Foyler Ahana Banerji was third for ‘Belong(ed)’.
28 November 2019