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Melanie Banim

Two poems by Melanie Banim – Knocking Shop / An Absent Father

We are pleased to announce the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2021) judged by Rachel Long.

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2021)
Judge’s report by RACHEL LONG

This has been such a rich experience. I have so enjoyed reading each entry. All were so varied. I feel like I’ve been on an extraordinary journey through the universe of each poem.

Here are my ‘winners’ and my comments on each below:

1st prize: Knocking Shop

This is a poem of empathy and exquisite range. It succeeds at being an intimate portrait of a specific experience, a childhood, a family life and history as well as absolutely achieving scope and range; the universality of growing up and understanding a complicated world, a poem, a whole lifetime rendered onto the page.

2nd prize: Maybe one day I will love you

A surreal and very real poem. A poem that gets to the grit of love.

3rd prize: Like you know Bolognese is slang for funny

What a brilliant meditation on the end of love/a relationship — unflinchingly and originally captured, so closely.

Highly Commended:

Bath Time: An immediate, active, present and heart-wrenching poem! A film in and of itself.

An Absent Father: The language in this poem is bright and fresh, ‘telephone box red’. The relationship rendered so stark and stunning. I was blown away by this!

Home Sweet Home: A real/surreal brilliant poem, that moves between realms and feeling to explore the home, the heart.


Night Talk: this poem remembers and knows what it is to fall and be in/under the state of love. Brilliantly, sensitively and surreally.

Perspectives: A masterclass in metaphoring noticing, the poetic eye.

Who Shall Wall/ Self from myself: A stunning poem, in premise, language, voice.

Special Mentions:

Pokemon in the Cemetery: A unique look at death/grief, and set against our relationship to gaming and ‘play’ — genius!

The Certainty of your Goodness: What a beautiful and otherworldly poem. A night boat of a poem into the mist of knowing.

Losing Tattoos like the Final Minutes of Twilight: A subline link and exploration made between inked skin, the nature of leaving, and the surreal.


1st Prize Knocking Shop by Melanie Banim (Liverpool, UK)
2nd Prize Maybe one day I will love you
by Mary Mulholland (London, UK)
3rd Prize Like you know Bolognese is slang for funny
by Mary Mulholland (London, UK)
Highly Commended Bath Time by Neil Elder (Middlesex, UK)
Highly Commended An Absent Father by Melanie Banim(Liverpool, UK)
Highly Commended Home Sweet Home 
by Eve Chancellor (Manchester, UK)
Commended Night Talk by Roberta Bassetti
(Summer Hill, Australia)
Commended Perspectives by D’Angelo (London, UK)
Commended Who Shall Wall/ Self from myself 
by Klara Hughes (Nicosia, Cyprus)
Special Mention: Pokemon in the Cemetery
by Clare Starling (London, UK)
Special Mention: The Certainty of your Goodness
by Hugo Jeudy (Paris, France)
Special Mention Losing Tattoos like the Final Minutes of
Twilight by D’Angelo(London, UK)