Attleborough Poetry Competition

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Attleborough Poetry



The Inaugural Attleborough Poetry Competition has now closed.  The entries are in and have been judged in the company of their peers.

We had a very wide range of entries reflecting the spectrum of ability that’s out there.  We had poetry that moved us, poetry that challenged us, poetry that made us laugh and poetry that surprised us.  It was a wonderful thing to sit with the judges’ as we sifted through the entries over a good bottle ( or three) of claret and listen to the exclamations.

“Oh wow, that’s good.”
“Here, listen to this for a minute.”
“I never would have come up with this rhyme, but she’s made it work.”

We also got poetry that made us laugh, ruefully, for the wrong reasons.  Entries with typing errors and  with plain spelling errors, and some that showed a scant grasp of grammar.  We had poets who tried for rhyming schemes but then gave up when they couldn’t find le mot juste.  Worse were the entries that were so obviously forced, where a word had been shoehorned it, just because it rhymed, rather than because it added anything to the poem.

After numerous winnowings, the three judges selected three poems each and I selected one myself, making a shortlist of ten.  Each of the judges then reconsidered each of these ten, first separately and then by debating their merits back and forth.   It was very difficult to select  one that stood head and shoulders above the others, but gradually they eliminated them, one by one, and in the heel of the hunt, they settled  on “Rite of Passage”, by Jerrold Creger.

Rite of Passage
The sunlight, reflected from her hair
Reminded me, there, of my mother
That other, who loved me before
She raised me
Up.  To know that a woman must pass
Hand on, relay to a younger
One who will hunger and thirst
At first, slowly changing, remoulding
Her arms enfolding what was once another’s pride.
And joy - or, if not - then satisfaction
At last ensues.


The judges agreed that this was a poem that got better with every reading.  “Dense with meaning”, commented  one,  who loved the compactness of the poem and the richness it held.   The subtle rhymes, an “almost-rhyming-scheme” gave Creger’s poem, a wonderful fluidity and the carefully thought-out line breaks and skilful use of punctuation each added further to this clever tapestry.  A deserving winner.

Jerrold is 28 years old and from Vancouver, Canada.  He has been writing poetry “on and off” since his early teens and for the past couple of years has been submitting to various online forums.  Jerrold says “The positive feedback I received from some of these encouraged me to continue trying to develop and improve my writing.”  Well done, Jerrold!

I think it fitting, here, to list the other nine poems that made it onto our shortlist.  These are our “honourable mentions” and please note that they are in no particular order:

  -  On Jackson’s Bridge Lock – Peter Goulding
  -  Parc Monceau – Jennifer Behan
  -  Writer’s Block – Seamus Harrington
  -  Balance – Sheila Roe
  -  Derrygimla  – Brendan Carey Kinane
  -  Lightning Strikes Twice – Raymond Portley
  -  Descent Into Blue – Karyl Wagner
  -  Jefferson – Declan Keavney
  -  High Time – Eleanor Sheedy

Well done to all of you.

And so closes our inaugural contest.  We hope to announce details of next year's competition sometime in the New Year.

Kind regards,

Pat Ryan
Attleborough Poetry Competition

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