Judges Hannah Lowe, Andrew McMillan and Pascale Petit praise the winning poem’s “mnemonic force” and describe it as a “neutron star of a poem compressed inside the restraining machinery of a sestina”
Out of more than 13,000 poems entered for this year’s award, Dom Bury’s poem ‘The Opened Field’ has been chosen as the winner of the National Poetry Competition, winning him £5,000.
Judges Hannah Lowe, Andrew McMillan and Pascale Pettit selected the winning poem from an astounding pool of entries from over 70 countries worldwide – maintaining the competition’s position as one of the world’s biggest international open poetry competitions for single poems.
The darkly allegoric winning poem surrounds six boys in a field enacting a disturbing coming-of-age ritual, and is told with a driving rhythm and mantra-like repetitions. The poem interrogates themes of unchecked masculinity, exploring our destructive relationship with each other and with the natural world. The barbaric impulses enacted are interwoven to offer us a sombre and precisely wrought ecological and social fable for our times.