Hannah Copley’s account of a gruelling illness during pregnancy was the inspiration for the £600 top prize in this year’s York Literature Festival / YorkMix Poetry Competition. Competition judge Andrew McMillan described Hannah’s poem, ‘Haworth, 1855’, as gripping, praising its sharp detail that takes the reader closely into the agony of the illness. The poem title relates to the illness which took Charlotte Bronte’s life when she was in the fourth month of pregnancy.
Second prize (£150) was awarded to Joshua Judson for his poem, ‘Margaret Thatcher In Therapy’ – Joshua was also longlisted in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. Third prize (£75) went to Len Lukowski for ‘Ceiling’, Fourth (£50) to Rachel Bower for ‘Postnatal Ward’, and The Helen Cadbury Prize for the best entry from a YO postcode (£50), was awarded to University of York student Emily Pritchard.
Success too for Poetry Society Members Georgina Titmus, Kostya Tsolákis, and Ayesha Drury – who were all Highly Commended, and Julia Webb, Maeve Henry, Joanne Key and Joy Winkler (for TWO poems), who were all Commended.
“Some poets have a misconception about poetry competitions; they submit work they think will specifically please the judge, sometimes even in what they believe is the judge’s style of work. But what I was looking for was excellent poems on subjects or styles that I could never do myself. I wanted to be surprised, grabbed by the writer. I think all the poems I picked have that quality. It was a privilege to be the first to read them”
Now in its sixth year, the competition has become one of Britain’s most prestigious poetry competitions, this year attracting 856 poems from more than 400 poets.
6 April 2018