Tag Archives: miles salter; bob beagrie

Sentinel Champions Stories #3 – Akinlabi Peter

Akinlabi Peter

Akinlabi Peter won the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition with “Moving” in October 2009 judged by Bobby Parker. Since then, he has gone on to publish A Pagan Place, issued as part of the APBF Chapbook Box Set: Eight New-Generation African Poets in 2015 published by Akashic Books, and a collection of poems, Iconography, which was long-listed for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2017. He was also the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Monday Writer July 20, 2020.

Bobby wrote in his adjudication report: “I immediately chose Moving as a possible winner, before going over it again and again, and again, and coming to the conclusion that it ticked pretty much all the boxes for me. It had to be first. The opening lines took me by the hand and by the end of the poem I had been somewhere and come back better for it. There is a command of line and craft in Moving that doesn’t get in the way, that doesn’t drown out the sound of a heart beating.”


Kumasi, 1967


i would not know you if not for the lights
riding forth through the retaining walls
of the ungovernable river…

we had forded water to the rail lines
reciting the lapidary psalms of the baptists
but arrived home to a startled flight of voices

a frightful moment later,
lights of devotion falling again
through the ashen pulse of the wind, i dog-eared
the intimation on the dark bulrushes of Kumasi

and that is how i was ferried home
incomplete, cultivating another time
while the dissonant meaning lets in
a daunting disbelief

a child again, i fold a geography of loss
into your eyes of secret, into the grieving fondness
of that district that women called Lagostown


so you will go through to Kumasi again
you will remember how the days passed
between the terraces and the grotto
you will recall the seduction of a quiet surrender

maybe you will remember too
a child’s unfettered heart; an atrocious gift
wrapped in the riddle of a sunset; arms outstretched
unto the sky of an abandoned house
ah, the sudden dampness of departure

now you perfect your gift of double faith-
hope it still retains its reins of cool closures-
admitting your weightless, interminable narrative
a bridge, you say, to a transmissible life

when you arrive in Kumasi,
you might cleanse the memory of sun dusts
searching the direction of clouds towards Ababu
or you might come undone
reading the signs of recent dawns on a tall building

the river will be unfamiliar- if you find it-
but the lights will still be the same
playing the meanings with things in memory
you can look for the fey swell of the bulrushes
and count the degrees of pain in the architecture of loss

Sentinel Champions Stories

#1 – Miles Salter  #2 – Mandy Pannett

Current Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition

23rd October 2021

The nature of monstrosity and how scientific invention can be used for good or ill; the humiliation of women, loss and betrayal, the need for refuge and the urge for flight – these are all explored in the sequence of poems that make up ‘The Daedalus Files‘. But who was Daedalus? In the Greek myth he was a heart-broken father, creating wings that led to the drowning of his son, Icarus. But he was also a designer of statues that seemed lifelike and a labyrinth for the minotaur, a hybrid beast. Twists inside your soul/are well concealed. Was Daedalus inventor or villain? The Daedalus Files is a new book of poetry by Mandy Pannett – author of All the Invisibles, Bee Purple, Frost Hollow and Jongleur in the Courtyard.

By from SPM Publications | Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Sentinel Champions Stories #2 – Mandy Pannett

The first time Mandy Pannett and Sentinel Literary Quarterly met was in July 2009. She entered our maiden competition judged by Bob Beagrie (author of Civil Insolences and Leasungspell) and Andy Willoughby (author of Tough and Between Stations). Mandy’s “The God of Allotments” won third prize in that competition. Andy and Bob wrote in their adjudication report that the choice of this poem as third prize winner was because of “…its capacity to be intensely personal but to touch a universal chord with its mixture of rhetorical examination of the love affair, its restrained language that makes the sense of mourning much more powerful and its judicious inclusion and editing of specific concrete detail with a well judged movement between mundanity and deep pathos.”

Mandy placing in that competition has led to a beautiful relationship which has seen her serve as Poetry Editor of Sentinel Literary Quarterly for five years, and editor of two anthologies published by SPM Publications, namely; Bridgewatcher and Other Poems (2013) in aid of the Psychiatry Research Trust and Poems for a Liminal Age (2015) in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières. Over the years, she has judged many of our competitions and likes to enter some herself when she is not judging. In October 2020 her poem “Enjoying Sunlight with John Donne in Derek Jarman’s Garden” was highly commended in the SLQ competition judged by Roger Elkin.


We were lovers for forty years.
Now you are dead.

Here on the allotment, others
will grow the scarlet runners, loving their blossom,
like you.

Why did we keep it a secret?
Guilt at reneging on vows?

Someone is threading up silver CDs in a bid to frighten the birds.
“mirrors for pigeons,” you’d say.

I don’t even know if they scattered your ashes or when.

Remember our shed – how we’d pretend
to be sorting out seeds and the door would casually

At times I thought the walls themselves would collapse.

Shall I go down to our pond?
That very last time it was covered in scum.
You said it was hot, kept coughing-

Were you dying and I didn’t know?

There’s no-one to talk to now, about you.
Only the god of allotments,
if he is in.

We always thought there’d be time for us –
at least for mingling our dust together,
as lovers do.

“The God of Allotments” was also published in Champion Poems #1

22nd October 2021

Sentinel Champions Stories #1 – Miles Salter
In July 2009, Sentinel Literary Quarterly launched a new poetry competition series. It was fiercely contested. Judged by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie, Miles Salter (then writing as Miles Cain) emerged winner of the first and second prizes with “Coffee” and “Enemy Funeral” respectively. FULL STORY >>

There are some things I’ve realised in 20 something years  / such as / whales are bigger than / any other thing in the universe / that is smaller than a whale. /…

This is how A Poem (written on the back of a disability allowance rejection letter) by Donzo begins. This poem received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.

Donzo is a 20 year old Irish artist who has recently entered the poetry scene. They enjoy creating art in many different forms through music, painting, and writing. “A Poem (written on the back of a disability allowance rejection letter)” is their first poem. READ POEM>>

Closing 31 October 2021 | Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition 

Rachel Long

For original previously unpublished poems in English language, on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long. £630 prize fund. Judge: Rachel Long – author of My Darling from the Lions.