Sarah Wimbush is chosen as The Poetry Society’s 2021 Stanza Competition winner

The Poetry Society is delighted to announce on National Poetry Day 2021 that Sarah Wimbush from York Stanza is the winner of the 2021 Stanza Competition for her poem ‘Blood Sugar’, chosen by Katrina Naomi.

The two Joint Runners-up are Claire Booker from Brighton Stanza for ‘Framed Woman’ and Liz McPherson from Heartlines Stanza, Headingley for ‘Outsider (After Adam Zagajewski)’.

Katrina writes “I’ve been reading and re-reading hundreds of poems on themes of Afghanistan, art, regret, trees (a huge number of tree-inspired poems), violence against women, and more.

“The winner, ‘Blood Sugar’, went into my yes pile immediately. I was exhilarated by its verve and energy, its chatty confidence, its one sentence. I loved how the poem shifted from grammar, to ice creams, to outer space.

“‘Framed Woman’ and ‘Outsider’ are my joint runner-up choices. In ‘Framed Woman’, I enjoyed the extended fish metaphor, ‘This is the odour of her life’, along with the understated whiff of loss. ‘Outsider’ grew on me, moving from the maybe to the definitely, yes, pile over several readings. The importance of sound, the quiet, the insistence of ‘the city’s drone’ are wonderful.”

The following poems were highly commended:

‘Diaspora dream by David Bleiman (Edinburgh and Germany Stanzas), ‘The Infirmary’ by Denise Bundred (Woking Stanza), ‘The Mechanics of Killing A Man’ by Julian Bishop (Palmers Green and Enfield Stanzas), ‘My first job was as a basement’ by Michael Saunderson (North Hampshire Stanza), ‘Inishwallah’ by Michael Shann (Forest Poets Stanza, Walthamstow), ‘Poplars’ by Partridge Boswell (Ireland Stanza), ‘A Rap Over the Knuckles’ by Peter Wellby (High Weald Stanza), ‘Paint Chart’ by Sue Burge (Norwich Stanza), ‘Solitary Lunch’ by Sue Norton (York Stanza), ‘America’ by Virginia Griem (Poetry Teignmouth Stanza),

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Choice’. The competition attracted work from more than 200 poets from all over the Stanza network. The Stanza competition is an annual competition open exclusively to Poetry Society Members who are also members of a Stanza.

Read the Stanza competition winning poems here