Category Archives: Sentinel Champions – Prizewinning writing

The winning, highly commended, commended and specially mentioned poems in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition series.

Gabriela Garbutt – ‘Lipogram in A’

Lipogram in A

That tall man
all tats and scars
can’t start a spark at a jazz bar
and walks sadly past
as a band plays a ballad crazy hard
a crash-cymbal cracks at a starry sky
a small hand sprawls and attacks a bass
That tall man
falls apart
as rats attack trash cans
and vandals smash glass
and black cats crawl gallantly past

Gabriela Garbutt

Gabi Garbutt is a half Chilean writer and musician living in London. Gabi’s songs have been played on BBC6 Music, BBC Radio London, Radio X and Philadelphia’s WXPN. She has toured Europe and the UK with The Libertines and with Edwyn Collins, and in September 2021 will support The Boomtown Rats on tour. Gabi performs regularly at poetry night in London and has performed at the Aarhus Literary Festival and the St Ives Literary Festival. Last year she was longlisted for Penguin Books’ Write Now programme and she has had poems published in The Delinquent and Literary Spot magazines. ‘Lipogram in A’ was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.

Annmarie McQueen – ‘Artemis’


The woods are lethal today. Exquisite. In this winter
light they could devastate me. I came to hunt; packed

my arrows, tracked my prey, the young doe too trusting
to know better, an easy kill. One snap of my bow and

she drops. A planet out of orbit. Blood blooming
bright. The earth swells up to meet her, soft as rainfall

swallows this death dutifully, like it always does. Orion
watches and wishes he were me. The day he died, he asked:

how can you love the creatures you kill? and I told him how
a hunter’s heart is a two-pronged thing, how it justifies itself

though paradox. Finds beauty in wild places. Finds grace
in an arrow arcing through air. Finds reverence in the taking

of only what is necessary. The shattering and the
stitching. And then, the aftermath: the end of a sentence

I could not finish. The visit to a little hut by a stream where
I know she will be waiting, like she always does. Open fire

ready. Hair smelling like wood-smoke, body worn down
to a husk. Smile blooming bright, still. When I touch her,

the heat is enough to melt the years away. Here is the
shattering. And the stitching. Again and again.

To love a mortal is a devastating thing.

AnnMarie McQueen

Annmarie McQueen is a London-based writer, marketer and candle-maker with a BA degree in creative writing from Warwick University. She’s been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Dear Damsels, Buried Letter Press and The Little Book of Fairytales released by Dancing Bear Books. You can find her full portfolio on her creative writing blog ‘Artemis’ was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.

Michael Brown – ‘A Photograph of the Author, Aged 9’

A Photograph of the Author, Aged 9

taken as read by a stranger as object of compassion as sent
by a mother as instant as indictment as dated on back in a
father’s angular hand Mike, age nine 74/75? as close-up
unsmiling in colour as oldest of three (brothers) as memory
of us as time as self-conscious with drooping eye as pupil as
boy as part of some other life as once as newly arranged
archive as square of light as set beside a polaroid of a wife as
child as dust as framing a face (you think) you half-recognise

Michael Brown

Michael’s work has been published widely in magazines including The Rialto, Southword, The North and others. He was selected by Clare Pollard for a Northern Writers’ Award (New North Poets) in 2017.

He was placed second in York Poetry competition 2019. He has twice been shortlisted in the Basil Bunting Award and in 2018 won the Wirral Firsts Poetry Competition and was commended in the McLellan Prize by Sinead Morrissey.

His pamphlets, Undersong (2014) and Locations for a Soul (2016) are available from Eyewear Publishing and Templar respectively.
His first collection, Where Grown Men Go, was published by Salt in Autumn 2019.

‘A Photograph of the Author, Aged 9’ won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.