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Judge hails “high standard” in poetry competition

Judge hails “high standard” in poetry competition

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Judge hails “high standard” in poetry competition

Wednesday 19 April 2023

1,672 poems were submitted in this year’s Guernsey International Poetry Competition, with the top prize going to an American psychiatry professor for a piece on the birth of his granddaughter.

Owen Lewis, who is also a published poet, scooped £1,000 for his poem titled ‘On the Hospital Bed’.

Guernsey poet Kevin Bales won in the local category with his piece ‘Between the Sun and the Snail Slime, taking home £250. 

New Zealand-based Sarah-Kate Simons took first place amongst the youngsters for her poem ‘Growing Pains’, also winning £250. 

Of all the submissions, 183 were in the Channel Island category, 223 in the Young People’s category, and the rest in the open competition. 

Poet and novelist Jackie Kay, who judged this year's competition, said the submissions were so strong she felt she was “left frantically trying to find something not so good [to] eliminate.  

“That was a stubborn process, and many of the poems that didn’t make it into the final shortlist still hovered around my kitchen for days.”  

A free-to-attend awards ceremony will be held on 10 May from 17:00 at the Guille-Alles Library, with Ms Kay in attendance. 

Priaulx Library from its website

Pictured: An exhibition will be placed outside the Priaulx Library in early May.

The top three poems in each category, and 12 others, will form the next iteration of the Poems on the Move display around the island, such as outside the Priaulx Library, and within buses. 

This year’s competition was sponsored by Specsavers and supported by Guernsey Arts. 

The Results 

Open Category:

  1. On the Hospital Bed, by Owen Lewis (USA) (£1000 prize) 
  2. At St Augustine’s, by Nina Quigley (Ireland) (£500) 
  3. Whale Bones, by Sarah-Kate Simons (New Zealand) (£250) 

Channel Island Category:

  1. Between the Sun and the Snail Slime, by Kevin Bales (Guernsey) (£250 prize) 
  2. All Aboard the 92, by Sally Pond (Alderney) (£50) 
  3. Diversion, by Hayley North (Guernsey) (£30) 

Young People’s Category:

  1. Growing Pains, by Sarah-Kate Simons (New Zealand) (£250 prize) 
  2. Bat Detecting, by Emily Hunt (Warwickshire) (£50) 
  3. Memories, by Oshadha Perera (New Zealand) (£30) 

Poems selected for Poems on the Buses exhibition:

  • Bottom of a Barrel, by Lorelei Clarke (France) 
  • It Rains When I Miss You, by Lorelei Clarke (France) 
  • Cornucopia, by Simon Evans (Wales) 
  • At Night, by Sarah Hemings (Bristol) 
  • The First Time I Saw, by Judy Mantle (Jersey) 
  • A Sudden Turn, by Jenny Mitchell (London) 
  • Inundation, by Sally Noel (Jersey) 
  • The Nightie I Keep at my Mother’s House, by Martine Padwell (London) 
  • Accident, by Miranda Pearson (Surrey) 
  • Swing Set, by Divya Venkat Sridhar (Switzerland) 
  • Elsewhere, by Divya Venkat Sridhar (Switzerland) 
  • Like a Sonnet, by Roger West (Glagow) 

Pictured (top): Jackie Kay. Credit: Mary McCarthy.

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