Tag Archives: poetry competitions

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 www.loreandink.com ‘Artemis’ was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.

Brett Reid – ‘Islands of the Dogs’

‘Islands of the Dogs’

Growing up, I couldn’t escape
the facts. My Boys’ Book of Knowledge
took care of that. To slip a straightjacket
Harry Houdini would dislocate a should-
er, even underwater. 111 decibels
is the loudest snore recorded.

The Canary Islands (Canariae Insulae)
are an archipelago named after dogs
not the sentinels employed to sniff
British pits from 1911 to 1986.
A hummingbird’s heart can tick
1,200 times in one minute.

The human heart has a double pump
action. It shoots blood at the body and lungs.
That’s all it does. It’s not, as once believed,
the seat of reason or love, does not
choose violent or lame-minded men
for husbands, or harridans for wives, isn’t

to blame for the music for the wedding dance,
possesses no intelligence beyond its
four-chambered design, has never heard of
Unchained Melody
the only song to simultaneously have
four versions in the UK top 20.


Unchained Melody was composed by Alex North (music) and Hy Zaret (lyrics)for the 1955 film Unchained. The song was made famous by the Righteous Brothers in 1965.

Brett Reid

Brett Reid lives in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, with his Irish-born wife Helen. They have recently returned home after living in Ireland for three years. When not working at his day job, and not reading or writing poetry, Brett’s likely to be riding his bike, swimming (ocean and pool), or
spending time with his two grown sons (whom he can now have a cold pint with on a hot Saturday afternoon). Brett has previously been published in takahē magazine. ‘Islands of the Dogs’ won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.


Closing date: 30th November 2013


These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems and short stories in English Language, in any style, up to 50 lines long (poems) or 2000 words long (stories). Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.


Prizes in each category: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third) and £25 x 5 (High Commendation)


Judges: Roger Elkin (Poetry), David Caddy (Fiction)


Have you written a winning poem or story that can take one of the prizes in the £2000 prize pot?  Enter it today online or download an Entry Form at www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc  


The Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition is now in its 4th year, the short story competition in its 2nd year. For information on fees, terms and conditions visit the web pages of the Sentinel Annual Writing Competitions (SAWC) www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc


Organised by Sentinel Poetry Movement – the international community of writers and artists…since December 2002

– a style of Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd