The Poetry Kit







1st Place

Pamela Danforth Yaco - Siberian Slumber  


2nd Place

Noel King - Field


Highly Commended (in no particular order) Carolyn O'Connell - As we crossed Hungerford Bridge Jan Harris - Le Havre, 17 September 1944 Fay Roberts - Cellars Roddy Williams - post-newtonian theory Dorothy Baird - Mislaid Pauline Gould - The Executioner’s Assistant Ginna Wilkerson - Broken Gillian Penrose - From the Train Tony Peneff - Film Still Mandy Pannett - Fra Angelico tries to paint light Laura Purcell - Subjects Lesley Burt - Afternoon tea Ira Lightman – To the Bedside of the Cancerous Man Alison Whitelock - no one knows if the polar bears will eat again Stephen Beattie - Digging Up The Past Penny Drops - if i had pages just to write on Astrid Back - The Joy of Writing about Cooking Terry Jones - Ode to Swifts Jane Burn -  I remember when I sang M V Williams – Aldershot Afternoons 1958 



1st Place Poem

by   Pamela Danforth Yaco -San Luis Obispo, California


Siberian Slumber  


The solitary white bear and I

pad across lichen soaked plains

me for fish

he for seal


The pleasure of salted flesh we devour

stunned, fat, our backs numb

we lie on a pane of frozen earth

the black dome above us

sprays a lavender mane of light until our eyes fill


We slip, heavy, to a cave of teared ice, frosted, soft bracken, crunch white, to cover our face from the flame he with paw, me with fleece


Our backs curl

we breathe a cloud

then we turn away

as the bear and I must do

and dream of bed


Me of yours

with its ivory pillows

the silver spirals of your hair

our rounded whispers of content


He of block ice

stripping winds

the splash of blue.



Poetry Kit Poetry Competition, Summer 2017 Results
Reading the entries was a real pleasure. There were many with clever use of language and  strong images.
Winning Poem
According to Him by Terry Jones, from Carlisle
This is a well-chosen title that is more than just a name to identify the poem in setting the tone and the role of a kind of ‘third person’ narrator. The poem flows really well, tells us something of the kind of person the ‘him’ is, and contains some wonderful images; I especially loved: ‘coronas/of moth and midge’, ‘every fox almond-eyed and bushy, red as its myth’, and: ‘fussed full of trout’.
Highly Commended
From Manchester to Barra by Will Daunt, Ormskirk, Lancs
This poem was another I kept going back to. The image of pebbles in the first stanza tells so much in so few words, and follows through ‘rocks of family’ to the ‘stone’s throw’ of the final stanza. The language in places seems reminiscent of Dylan Thomas, perhaps especially in the second stanza. outstanding images; for example: ‘every fox almond-eyed and bushy, red as its myth’.
Commended Poems
From Barra to Vatersay by Will Daunt, Ormskirk, Lancs – this seems to be a companion piece to the highly commended poem, and is very evocative of life in a Hebridean landscape.
Mr Cox’s Monterey Pines by Dawn Bauling,  Beaworthy, Devon  Ronnie Goodyer
–  this poem gives a real sense of carpe diem: how artist, photographer and poet work to capture the immediate moment.
Another Memory of Her, by James Babbs, Stanford, Il, USA
where a title works so well throughout the reading of the poem,
In the wings by Adele Cordner, Magor, Monmouthshire
 for its evocative final stanza,
Soldiers for a New Millenium by Sharyl Heber,  Los Osos, CA   USA
which manipulates rhythm and language so well.
Other shortlisted poems
Hettie Gets Out by Janine Booth
Vogue Poetic Justice cut-up by Myrtle V
Procrastination by Susan Donaldson

Poetry Kit Spring Poetry Competition, 2017


The winning poem,

Hate, by  Julia Carlson, Cambridge, MA. USA


 The rest of the poems that made it to the shortlist are listed here in alphabetical order:


Auxi Fernandez in Morgan’s Bar: by Derek Sellen, Canterbury, UK

Incarnation – Paris Siege 1870-71 by Derek Sellen, Canterbury, UK

In Memory of Two Lives by Lisa Reily, Tacoma South, NSW, Australia

Memorial Service for Dame Cecily Saunders by Elizabeth Davies, London

Nostalgia  by Yasmin Roe, Coniston

Worth It by Alicia Fernández,  Leeds, West


Judges Report


The winning poem, Hate, succeeds in conveying complex emotions that are involved in compassion where circumstances make it difficult for the narrator to really help: a ‘heavy angry sad feeling’ is made explicit as is the ‘hate’ of the title, while the poem’s tone and content also convey gentleness and provide concrete contexts for the feelings. Form, tone and style make me think of the way O’Hara can turn everyday activity into a kind of meditation, linking the immediate with other events and environments. The movement between tenses works well in achieving this.


The rest of the poems that made it to the shortlist are listed here in alphabetical order:


Auxi Fernandez in Morgan’s Bar: the poem conveys a real sense of the dancer’s movement, and I especially liked the image of ‘face halved by light’.


Incarnation – Paris Siege 1870-71: this is an intriguing topic, which reminds me of that awful saying about ‘eating the elephant a spoonful at a time’; this section stood out:  ‘Two massive, wrinkled beasts/scoured by a thousand lines, as if their pencil etchings/had taken absurd mass.’


In Memory of Two Lives: the image of the ‘eye dangling and bloodied’ is startling and horribly memorable.


Memorial Service for Dame Cecily Saunders: I liked this tribute to one of the founders of palliative care and the hospice movement; the writer has neatly referred to  both beginning and ending in the opening line, and circled back to that at the end with ‘The ends are yours to love now’.


Nostalgia: this is a poem with a story to tell, leaving the reader to speculate, and leading into a satisfying last line: ‘The last little piece of you gone’.


Worth It: this poem takes an image of Dr Martens boots as a metaphor for developing ways to cope with the hard knocks of life. I liked the neat pun of the ending: ‘it is worth it/in the long run.’


Lesley Burt


HATE by Julia Carlson


Today I sat on a stone bench in Harvard Square

Eating an ice cream cone

I was waiting for the #1 bus

The sun was nice and warm on my face

Eight or nine sparrows watched me

I realized they were waiting to see if

I would throw them some crumbs.

They sat unmoving, silent, not a chirp

Tilting their heads from side to side

Watching me from an angle, as birds do.

I wondered if hungry people ever watched

Customers eating at a restaurant.

I remember reading a french poem about that -

Maybe by Jacques Prevert,

A boy presses his nose against the glass

And watches the man inside eating

His croissant and drinking coffee

The boy is so hungry, his stomach hurts

And he hasn’t a sou.  In the poem

The man doesn't come out of the cafe

And offer to buy him breakfast.

No he comes out of the cafe and yells at him

Get lost, you dirty kid!

Nothing for a grubby gamin running the streets

With scuffed knees and dirty fingernails.

I crumbled up the rest of the ice cream cone

To little bits & tossed them to the sparrows

Who flocked and grabbed greedily

For despite the warm sun, it was a cold day.

I do not hate those sparrows

Or that hungry, grubby kid in the poem

But I do hate the angry guy who chased him away.

I find myself hating quite a few people these days

Mostly people in our “new” government

Who have power not only over

Grubby boys and their sisters who are hungry tonight,

But over the sparrows too,

Who like bees, lizards, and turtles

Like lakes and streams

May one day disappear from the earth.

I never thought I would own hate,

But I do now and

I am not ashamed of it -

This heavy angry sad feeling

That weighs on me like a big stone

As heavy as a grubby boy

Or a small flock of sparrows.




Winner of the Poetry Kit Summer Competition 2016

Ion Corcos – Ithaca from a Ferry



Derek Sellen – From the Inventory of the Museum of Twentieth Century Things

Oz Hardwick – Rock-a-Bye

Bethany Climpson – solar systems

Angela Rigby – Lost

A.C. Clarke – Portrait of the Author at Ten

Stuart Nunn – Severn, night, tide rising

Roger Elkin – Rock End


Selecting a winner from this year’s Summer Competition entries was very difficult task. There were so many excellent poems that even selecting a shortlist meant a lot of difficult decisions All of the shortlisted poets reflected the theme and engaged the reader with a strong visual element, using images to illustrate fine detail in their poetry. 


Many poems fell by the wayside in the selection process and perhaps it will be helpful if I say that most of the poems rejected at this stage, just failed to engage the judge sufficiently to be memorable and demand selection.  If a poem attracted attention when read then it was put into a long list and read again.  However at this stage some poems had already started to assert themselves and so, on rereading, were moved to the final shortlist.  


The shortlisted poems were all fine pieces of work that had earned their place in the final selection. From the short list the winning poem and the three highly commended poems were chosen and it was very difficult to decide the overall winner, but in the end it was memorable imagery and a unique approach that had made the difference.  After reading the poems the winner was the poem that stayed with me.