booking line 01482 392699
booking line 01482 392699
Bridlington Poetry Festival
14 - 16 june 2013

Bridlington Poetry Festival
Church Lane, Sewerby YO15 1EA
Council Offices
Skirlaugh HU11 5HN

Competition 2011

Larkin & East Riding Poetry Competition 2011 Results


read poem 1st Gwen de Mel - What is This Life?

read poem 2nd Josephine Abbott - Spell Against Sadness

read poem 3rd Mike Barlow - From the Cabinet of Idioms

read poem East Riding Prize: Toni Sweet - Hull's Chosen Son

Highly Commendeds - (in chosen order)

read poem C J Allen - Starlings

read poem Susan Grindley - New Reader

read poem Esther Morgan - The Dew Artist

read poem Stuart Henson - A Room at the Back of the Palace Hotel

read poem John Elinger - Utility

read poem Julia Lewis - Sweetheart Come

read poem Alan Buckley - The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

read poem Simon Curtis - Gym

read poem Joanne Hill - The Last Gloves My Sister Touched

read poem Giles Newington - Please Forward


Adjudicator's Report

Whether it's marking examinations or essays, any form of judging - of passing judgement - is an exercise in responsibility. If it's poetry, then the 'judge' should always be conscious of how important a poem, and the experience underlying it, might be to its author. At the same time, many years of reading poetry have left me with an awareness of what I like, and what I don't like (or, rather, what I like less), while I hope always to leave room for a willingness to be surprised or to accept the unexpected.

In reading the poems submitted for this competition I was also conscious of Philip Larkin's name being attached to it. It felt like a sceptical and grinning presence at my shoulder. But it didn't lead me to exercise what I feel would be Larkin's taste, although to some extent my taste overlaps on his. I looked for poems that I felt to be well finished. My method was to draw up a pile of poems for re-reading, and then read them again, and again, until this long-list diminished. By the time that folder had dwindled to about thirty-odd poems the harder work began. It took quite a while. It meant taking the folder for walks. Fortunately, where I live is rural enough to do that without risking accusations of eccentricity, or worse.

"Tell the truth, but tell it slant", Emily Dickinson wrote. It's often that unpredicted or indirect angle on a poem's subject or meaning that suggests its originality, and there are poems in my list of prizewinners and commendeds that live up to Dickinson's maxim. The title of the winning poem - "What is This Life?" -irritated me, until I accepted that it was subverted by the writer's commonsense humour, but which did not subvert the poem's seriousness. The sentiment of "Spell Against Sadness" also appealed to me, as did the inventive recall of clichés in "From the Cabinet of Idioms".

"Hull's Chosen Son", which is awarded the East Riding Prize, could read like a poem calculated to put me off, as I've found myself called on now and again to say more about Larkin than I'd really want to. In any case, I've come to share the beliefs of the author of the poem. It shows considerable insight into Larkin's work and life.

I also looked for poems that moved me, or budged me. More poems succeeded in doing that than I've had room to commend.

Douglas Dunn
April 2011