Poetry Centre

Third place

  • Amy Ellis achieved the remarkable feat of being placed both third and second, and with poems which are radically different from one another in subject matter and tone. Her third-placed poem, ‘The Secret Keeper’ was an intense, shocking piece which the judges admired for its uncompromising approach but also for its craft - the deft use of rhyme and half-rhyme to insinuate and then stun the reader with the full force of the violence being described. The poem is constructed with considerable skill, the beginnings and ends of lines designed to complement the vivid and dynamic imagery.

    The Secret Keeper

    She tried to powder her nose
    with a shotgun, blew the skin right 
    back, peeled herself like an orange, 
    and placed a hole where her sewn 
    up mouth used to be. Left herself splattered 
    and gaping like a gang rape victim. Shattered 
    teeth, broken piano keys, the tuskless 
    elephant, the worm of what used to be a tongue.

    by Amy Ellis