Category Archives: Competitions

Lesley Burt – Goodbye Good-Time George


‘Goodbye Good-Time George’ by Lesley Burt was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.

Lesley Burt

Following retirement from social work education, Lesley completed an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poems have been published widely in magazines including: Tears in the FenceThe Interpreter’s House, Prole, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Reach, Sarasvati and The Butchers Dog; also online, including in Poetry KitThe Poetry Shed, Algebra of Owls and Ink, Sweat and Tears. 

Michaela Coplen – Knot


The stretch of pavement off the road, where the new-builds were never built, where if in dark and his dad’s black car we kept the engine off,

and so were indistinguishable from mounds of upturned dirt, was the place
of our necessity, the place that, on a ready night, having tendered our excuses,

we would drive ourselves, past the billboard lights, the cows in their low blue barn, a narrowing (my nails sunk in the leather seat for purchase, the car a larger cage

we let the animal inside) — and when we parked, with swollen words,
the automatic chuckle, he would eager, and unbuckle, I would put myself

to task, to task to task to task, his plunging urge
my course of study — oh ever-willing subject of the list I had to tick —

and most nights, this was it: a clutch, a minute then of rest,
a fog of breath we’d smear around the windows with our shirts —

but one night, we reversed, he wanted, no he really did, he was sure he could, I said he could, I had no hints to give, he spent hours

trying everything — hitch, bend, twist — while I watched him from inside of me; I tightened me to it; in the dark, his hand

became the shadow of a hand — that other hand, he didn’t know,
I didn’t ever tell him, I was still so in the yoke of it, how could I really

tell him, that the thrum of pleasure had a chord of fear caught up
in it — the slip knot I could never slip, I couldn’t make myself slip.

Knot by Michaela Coplen was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.

Michaela Coplen

Michaela Coplen is a poet and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. She earned her BA from Vassar College, where she served as a poetry editor for the Vassar Review. Her poems have been published online with The Atlantic and, as well as in the Bellevue Literary Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She won the 2019 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, the 2020 York Poetry Prize, and was included in the 2020 Best New Poets anthology. Her work can be found at:

Daniel Holt – Two Poems


We are ever so quiet and take great
pains to monitor each careful footfall.

We whisper our small conversations, and turn
pages of long novels with moistened fingertips.

It’s been this way for years, contemplating chicken
bones on saucers, mythologies of old wallpaper.

Our daughter calls and even she knows to whisper
into the receiver. She never listens.

To leave the house is a week on tenterhooks,
a restive gauze of sleeping pills, only then

returning down interminable corridors
single file, staring at the wainscot in hope.

When the knock comes, it is soft and deliberate:
a rapid two-knuckle triplet.

What can we do once summoned but shuffle
to the peephole in our dressing gown and slippers?


Your smile is broad and harmless.
Two pinhole eyes and a dopey grin.
A foregone conclusion leading nowhere.
A pair of whalers locked into a frozen bay.
The petrified beam of a corporate radical.
Beer belly button and bullethole.
Mute sympathy kept from the idiocy of words.
Mute idiocy kept from the sympathy of words.
Gentler heuristic for I love you but I don’t
want to talk to anyone today.
A cave painting for the flickering new century.
After the last goodbye or the first hello.
I don’t fully remember.
Crooked splint that warps to the fugue of addenda.

‘Waiting for a Visit’ and ‘:)’ by Daniel Holt were highly commended and specially mentioned in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.

Daniel Holt

Daniel lives in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he teaches English at a university. He is married to a Vietnamese woman and together they have a little son. Although he has been writing poetry on and off for several years, this is his first foray into the world of competitions and publishing. Besides an intense interest in poetry, Daniel enjoys the arts more broadly, especially music and painting. He is also learning Vietnamese.