Penny Boxall wins The Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition

Penny Boxall

The winner of the 2019 Stanza Poetry Competition on the theme of ‘Lies’, judged by Geraldine Clarkson, is Penny Boxall (York Stanza) for her poem ‘The Dub Artist’. As part of Penny’s prize, she will be one of our guest readers at The Poetry Society’s AGM on 27 November at the Poetry Cafe, London, and will receive professional feedback on her poems-in-progress from Judy Brown as part of The Poetry Society’s Poetry Surgery scheme.


Geraldine: “This gorgeous poem shone out from the beginning, a refreshingly original subject, with piquant examples and precise images… An original take on the the theme of ‘lies’, which was both authentic-seeming and thought-provoking.”

Penny: “I was idly watching the pondlife outside my room at Cove Park this year, and – as described – a waterboatman’s actions synced up briefly with the sound of a donkey. It was quite funny visually, and it linked in with a conversation I’d had with a group of sound artists about first impressions and how, in new company, we can accidentally come out with things that we don’t fully recognise as ourselves – not lies, exactly, but things that don’t quite ring true. I’ve taken this thought further away in the poem and fictionalised it a bit, which probably adds to the confusion…”

Our joint runners-up are Belinda Rimmer (Cheltenham) for ‘Being Swedish in Pontlottyn Rugby Club’ and Bernie Cullen (also of York Stanza) for ‘When Ursula Tyrwhitt was Gladstone’s Lover’. 

Geraldine has chosen ten Commended poems:

‘On Reading Professor McGrath’ by Alastair Llewellyn-Smith (Barnes & Chiswick)
‘The second lie’ by Niall Firth (Forest Poets, Waltham Forest)
‘On Draining the St. Martin Canal’ by David Canning (Mosaic, Colchester)
‘Sloes’ by Hannah Brockbank (Chichester)
‘The Mask’ by Antony Mair (Hastings)
‘Home County’ AND ‘Whitewash’ (two poems) by Isabella Mead (Chiltern Poets)
‘Sp/lit’ by Claire Booker (Brighton)
‘They Came From Somewhere Else’ by Veronica Zundel (Palmers Green)
‘Blakeney, moonlight’ by Michael Shann (Forest Poets, Waltham Forest)

This year, we received 433 poems on the theme of LIES from 270 poets, which is the second highest total ever.

Read more, including all the poems and Geraldine’s report