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Anthony Watts to judge Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)

Anthony Watts

Anthony Watts

We are pleased to announce that Anthony Watts will judge the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017). The competition which is open to all poets living in any part of the world will open on 6th March and close on the 31st of May.

Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for over 40 years and has had poems published in magazines and anthologies in addition to four published collections: Strange Gold (KQBX Press, 1991), The Talking Horses of Dreams (Iron Press, 1999), Steart Point (John Garland, 2009) and The Shell Gatherer (Oversteps, 2011).   He has won prizes in poetry competitions and his poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Somerset Sound.  Rural Somerset has been his home for most of his life and he has no plans to leave it.  His main interests in life are poetry, music, thinking and messing about outdoors.


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2017)

Closing date: 28-Feb-2017

Judge: Mandy Pannett author of All the Invisibles

Details: For original, previously unpublished poems in English language, on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long.  Poets of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes:  £200 (first prize), £100 (second prize), £50 (third prize), £20 x (high commendation) and £10 x 3 (commendation).

First publication:  All winning and commended poems will be published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine (online)

Results: will be announced on 15-April-2017

Entry Fees:  £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7, £22/10

Send cheques/postal orders (GB£ only) in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT to:

Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, London E18 1AB, United Kingdom

Contact: Enter online or download Entry Form for Postal Entry at

Getting Started by Chris Heyward

Getting Started by Chris Heyward was highly commended in the Sentinel Annual Short Story Competition 2015 judged by Alex Keegan.



Bean Counter by Dianne Bown-Wilson

Bean Counter by Dianne Bown-Wilson was commended in the Sentinel Annual Short Story Competition 2015 judged by Alex Keegan.

A leopard never changes his spots, my mother used to say with a resigned pursing of her lips. But since ‘that night’ she doesn’t any more.
She used to say it about Dad who was, is, a typical accountant: steady, pragmatic, controlled. Whether that was his nature and he chose his profession to fit, or whether his work reigned in what was once a more effervescent disposition, I can’t decide.
“Oh, he’s always been like that,” Mum says. But then, thirty-five years on, perhaps today’s torpid reality has driven out all memory of any recklessness that might have punctuated his younger life. After all, she must have thought him exciting once upon a time.
Anyway, to understand what happened you need to know a little of how things were. A few years back my father’s advertising agency, established some twenty years earlier with his best friend Brian and until then, unswervingly successful, was about to go under. The reason for this change in fortunes was simple: Brian, the creative, the yang to Dad’s yin, had been diagnosed with cancer. Read the full story.

Grapefruit Moon by Colin Watts

Grapefruit Moon, a short story by Colin Watts was commended in the Sentinel Annual Short Story Competition 2015 judged by Alex Keegan.

Read Grapefruit Moon


Two poems by Noel Williams


Windfall phrases flutter on the path, dry whisperings,
litter scratching at my boots. As if someone
doesn’t want me hacking through these brambles
to that neglected shed. Someone is me.
But I’m not listening.
Time to cut this to the root.

In it those toys that Oxfam should’ve had –
the microscope with slides of spider-legs
and eye-bright copper sulphate, a bible scribbled through,
bruised Swoppets and the yellow saxophone
with scarlet keys still creased in cellophane
as if a toy-shop window bent and buckled round it.

You knew I’d kept them. But never said. As if
your silent threnody could scour guilt from these things
heaped up and hidden. Forget this pushchair with rust-soiled wheels
once a chariot. Imagine this typewriter
stuffed with your hundred spidered drafts
holds nothing but pages yearning to be trees.

You wished, I know, to become tongueless as oak.
Instead of words we might have a treehouse.
But what’s the point of knowing? I know this billhook,
for example, was your aunt’s, borrowed to slice
the first thick swathe of nettles from this yard
to clear it for that red pedal car. So what?

I know now this Lone Ranger Colt falls from its holster
if you sprint on the road. I’d planned to stitch it.
I know that if I’d cleared all this and dumped it when I should,
we’d have new tools, oiled and gleaming,
mounds of fecund peat, a dozen rows of seedlings,
fingering the trickling sunlight, if I’d unwebbed the window as you asked.
It feels like rain.

Return to Kabul, 1990

Under the carcass of a T72, the greybeard
elbows professional orphans,
spreads a Quran against a pillow of stone.
We face the same way.

We filter rice and cumin with our fingers,
chew kidney beans folded in spinach.
Stained by firelight we laugh about the carpet,
the lost washing machine, the hours
we’d prayed at that fizzing TV.
Who now crouches by its flattery?
Is it kicked in and sightless, like Mazar-al-Sharif?

Yesterday we counted a blackened mile of buses
lining the pits. My father wouldn’t come back to his cell.
He gave me the hasp of its hacksawed lock, talisman
against its sixty thousand silences.

Between the crazed walls and the minarets
pale pigeons glide like angels.
In the Ziaranth glazed by autumn sky,
a woman in a white burqua kisses the caliph’s tomb.
Those lights rising over the broken stone
are not the beams of any helicopter.

‘Overgrown’ and ‘Return to Kabul, 1990’ by Noel Williams were highly commended and second prize winner respectively in the Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition 2015 judged by Afam Akeh.

SLQ July – September 2016 Print Cover


Leonard Cohen is John Donne to Bob Dylan’s Shakespeare by Edward Docx

The first time I thought consciously about Leonard Cohen’s death was in 2002. I was listening to his 2001 album Ten New Songs while crawling my way through the writing of a novel in which each chapter took its title from one of the poems in The Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. I remember hearing the following lines, among the hundreds of Cohen’s that I’ve come to revere: “So come, my friends, be not afraid/ We are so lightly here/ It is in love that we are made/ In love we disappear.”

Enter the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2016) judged  by Roger Elkin

Enter the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2016) judged by Roger Elkin

In that moment, a network of biographical and thematic connections between Donne and Cohen suddenly rose up in my mind. No man is an island. Death be not proud. The bearable and the unbearable lightness of our being. The way that love makes us and remakes us. The secular sacrament of our lovemaking itself. The lover as saint. The high seriousness of love and death so entwined. The abiding generosity towards their listeners. Can there be two poets who credit their audience with more intelligence than Donne and Cohen? I wrote a few notes about the idea, the last line of which I underlined: Leonard Cohen is John Donne to Bob Dylan’s Shakespeare.

Read the article in full here

Article source:

Editorial Note

It is with great pleasure we introduce you to the October – December 2016 issue of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine. This quarter we have succeeded in releasing the magazine online and in print as we used to do in the past. The difference today is that the entire issue is available to read ‘at no cost’ on the net. We choose to say ‘at no cost’ rather than use the word ‘free’ in other not to cheapen the expensive creative products of many minds published here.

We recognise of course that with the entire issue available online at no cost, there is not a particularly compelling reason for anyone to spend £6 on the magazine + £2.99 for post and packaging to obtain the print version.

Let’s try these for compelling reasons then;
(a) Reading online may be great but the feel of paper is greater. True? Yes.
(b) The paperback on your bookshelf or a copy you sign and give away as a gift to a friend, relative, your old school or local library is …priceless.
(c) Sentinel Literary Quarterly will make a margin of around £1.57 on each copy sold. This will be a huge encouragement to us, but will go right back into running the magazine, paying for hosting the website and other associated costs.
If these don’t persuade you to part with under nine quid for something you can get at no cost in another format, please call or text me on 07812755751 and I am sure I will sell it to you. I will show you that literature loves a cheerful magazine buyer or subscriber.

What about the print version of back issues?
Good question. The past issues currently published online only will now have the paperback versions published too. We have promised this in the past but it turned out to be not too practical. We have worked out a way to do it now. This is by pushing ourselves to release a print issue every month until we catch up. Here is a schedule to watch over the next few months:

October – December 2016 – (Online  and print versions done.)
July – September 2016 – (Online done. Print version due 10-December-2016)
January – March 2017 – (Online and print versions due 31-January-2017)
April – June 2016 – (Online done. Print version due 28-February-2017)
January – March 2016 – (Online done. Print version due 31-March-2017)
April – June 2017 – (Online and print versions due 30-April-2017)

Fiction submissions
The email address is currently closed. All fiction submissions should be sent to Apologies to so many people who have tried in the last few months to submit fiction and their submissions failed.


Great appreciation and thank you to Mandy Pannett – our poetry editor, for her unwavering belief in SLQ and her eyes and ears for good poetry. Her commitment to Sentinel Literary Quarterly is greater than mine. Analyse that, because I am totally and passionately committed to SLQ, yet Mandy’s commitment is greater than mine. She will continue to be blessed in every way.

Many thanks also to our contributors who have kept the faith through our often rough journey. Sentinel Literary Quarterly is your magazine and please don’t be shy if you want to have a bigger role beyond submitting your work. We are particularly keen on literary bloggers who would like to blog about all and everything about literature to provide fresh content all year round between our quarterly issues. Let’s have a conversation about your ideas.

Happy Reading


Nnorom Azuonye Managing Editor

Go to October – December 2016

Vision – a short story by Laura Solomon


Gary was working in his dark room when the stroke took place.  There was nobody with him but he knew enough to know that something was terribly wrong as his balance felt suddenly off and his left arm had become uncomfortably numb.  He made his way into the living room and dialled 111.  The ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and he was taken to A&E and triaged.  The doctor, who looked half Gary’s age, diagnosed a stroke and Gary was kept in for observation as his blood pressure was 145 over 90, no doubt a contributing factor to what he had suffered.  They gave him medication for the blood pressure and let him go home after three days.  He no longer saw colour; his world had become black and white.  The doctor told him that the stroke had done damage to his occipital lobe.

Gary lived alone in Point Chev.  His wife had committed suicide a year earlier and he had fallen into a deep depression.  He had no interest in other women.  Gary didn’t know why his wife had suicided, but he knew she had always complained that he was too wrapped up in his work and never seemed to have any time for her, so he felt a requisite amount of guilt.  Following the death of his wife, Gary managed to continue with his photography but it was an effort, like wading through glue.  He was well respected in his profession and had held a number of successful exhibitions.  He knew he was one of the lucky ones; he made a living from his art, a rare and difficult feat in small, isolated New Zealand.  People called him egotistical but it was just a defence mechanism, a way of keeping his psyche intact when he was picked at and criticised.  He didn’t have too many friends.  People said he was ‘difficult’.  He spent most of his time holed up in his dark room, fiddling with chemicals, watching photographs appear in the developing solution.  Read the full story here