Here are the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2011) judged by Bob Beagrie.
First Prize – Starlings – Jenny Donnison (Sheffield)
Second Prize – The River 8 – Richard Halperin (Paris)
Third Prize – Aestivation – Jenny Donnison (Sheffield)
Highly Commented (In no particular order)
From The Shore – Richard Halperin (Paris)
Black Cat (Tvi-Tvi-Tvi) – Andreas Maria Axel (London)
Four Corners – Adura Ojo (Erith)
Commended (In no particular order)
The Cut – JV Birch (London)
Fall-Out – Glyn Roberts (Cheshire)
Over – Tracey Ward (Portsmouth)
Full Circle – Jamil Dhanji (London)
Nap Time With My daughter – Elizabeth Hughes (West Midlands)
Ambience: A Variation – Mandy Pannett (Pulbrough)
Free Embroidery – Glyn Roberts (Cheshire)
In-Betweeners – Irena Postlova (Purley,)
Scotland – Robin Daglish (Dorset)
The winning and commended poems will be published in Sentinel Champions magazine #9. February 2012.
It was a pleasure to judge the Sentinel quarterly poetry competition and to read all the entries, a great many of which were of a very high standard, making the job quite a challenging one. I read the batch of entries several times before attempting to shortlist them. There were poems which I found moving, poems which showed a great control of form, poems which sparked my imagination, poems which were clearly drawn from difficult experiences and which I’m sure were cathartic for the poets to write, there were poems which were amusing, poems which demonstrated a sharp eye for concrete images, poems with finely wrought rhythms and sound patterns and others which captured unique and unusual glimpses of personal truths and realisations.
Reducing the entries to a more manageable batch meant that some poems were rejected because they relied too heavily on overly predictable (and unimaginative) rhyming patterns and hackneyed imagery, some because they slid too far into sentimentalism, others were technically competent but did not dig sufficiently into the subject matter or get beneath the surface of an experience, some because they contained minor mistakes in their execution and required a final careful edit, some were rejected because they expressed emotions through vague abstractions rather than being anchored into a tangible reality, some because they seemed to rest too comfortably upon the idea of expressing the ‘poetic’ rather than being used as a medium of exploration and examination, and others, which, when read on their own were strong pieces but when compared to other entries suddenly seemed too safe.
Reducing the final 20 in my shortlist to the fifteen commended, highly commended and winning entries was a very difficult process of careful comparison and cross referencing. There were some very fine and extremely interesting poems that regrettably I had to put to one side because one word in one line jarred a little or they seemed slightly too self aware, or lacked the subtlety of the rest, but at this stage, to be honest, it came down mainly to my own intuition and personal taste.
I think the remaining fifteen poems all have something vital and interesting to say and each says it in a very original and often idiosyncratic manner, which doesn’t just show control of structure and organic form but also poses questions and challenges the reader, while at the same time offering little insights and epiphanies.
The three winning entries all employ different levels of ambiguity which I particularly admired, as well as being ambitious, daring and experimental while retaining a sense of authenticity and unflinching honesty, for which I would like to congratulate them.
It is clear to me that Sentinel Poetry Movement is providing a valuable forum and an outlet for excellent, vibrant, contemporary poetry. I would like to thank the organisers and administrators for inviting me to judge the work as well as all of the contributors for sharing their thoughts, feelings, impressions and their art.