2015 Winners and shortlist

  • International-Poetry-Competition_jpg

    The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre ran its inaugural International Poetry Competition in 2015. Two top prizes of £1000 were on offer in a competition that sought to celebrate the great diversity of poetry being written in English all over the world.

    Poems were submitted in two categories: ESL category (open to all poets over 18 years of age who speak English as Second Language), and Open category (open to all poets over 18 years of age).

    The competition was a great success, and we received almost 900 entries by over 400 different poets from right across the globe. Our judge was the poet and memoirist Hannah Lowe.

    Many congratulations to the winners and those poets shortlisted and longlisted!

    Please join us on Friday 19 February from 6-8pm here at Oxford Brookes University to celebrate the prize-winning poets of the 'Open' and 'English as a Second Language' categories in our inaugural International Poetry Competition. The event will include readings from the winners, as well as an exciting showcase of work from local young poets, mentored by award-winning writer, Kate Clanchy. Light refreshments will follow. If you would like to attend, please let us know via e-mail: poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk by 10 February. 

    These are the winners in each category:

    Open category

    ESL category

    The Shortlist for the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2015 consists of the following poems:

    • Mariel Alonzo, 'Noli Me Tangere'
    • Claire Askew, 'Things'
    • Geraldine Clarkson, 'Edwardiana'
    • Mario Petrucci, 'Night at the rock'
    • David Underdown, 'Snow boys at the Castle Flats'
    • Jennifer Wong, 'The netizens'

    Judge’s report

    The standard of the entries for the inaugural Oxford Brookes Poetry Competition was very high – I was spoilt by poems to choose from. Many of them seem to emerge from a broad range of life experiences, and some of the finest had a sense of urgency to them, of needing to be written.

    The First Prize winner in the Open category, 'Framed', had exactly this sense, of witnessing, or testimony to a very strange course of events, and that is what I loved about it – the range of movement in the story it tells, from Guyana to the docks of England to the Inner Hebrides. The Second Prize winner, 'Domonic', also had wonderful temporal movement, from heartbreak to renewal, and a poignant use of colloquial language. All of the winning poems are about relationships between people, and the Special Commendation goes to 'Glass Eye', a beautifully observed child’s eye portrait of a grandfather.

    Many of the poems entered into the ESL category spoke of life lived in a different country, and this was a focus of all of the winning poems. The First Prize winner, 'Vareniki'expertly weaves together a culinary ritual with a story of loss and grieving, while the Second Prize winner 'Gerrymanderings of the Mind' explores immigrant arrival to a new city in a wonderfully irreverent style. In 'Prayer', the Special Commendation, it is the natural landscape that alienates the speaker from home, yet the poem’s linguistic dexterity weaves two languages cleverly together to reflect this experience of duality.