Monthly Archives: April 2021

Prizewinners in our 2021 Open Competition

We are very happy to announce that the prize winners in our 2021 Open Competition, judged by Rishi Dastidar, are as follows:


  • The Mundane Borders on Evil by Ryan Murphy


  • Elegy for two placentas by Vanessa Lampert


  • california by Kit Radford


  • Impossible Titles by Marion Tracy
  • The Magical World of the Strands by Mark Harrison
  • Jimmy by Deborah Thwaites
  • We have put him in the cellar for safekeeping by Rowan Lyster

The judge also wanted to recognise two poems as Commended

  • Ghost by Claire Collison
  • Etiquette for Living with Angels by Alex Toms

We’d like to thank Rishi for judging the competition, which entailed reviewing 2440 poems entered by 1093 poets. Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to Ryan and the other prize winners.

We’ll be posting his report, as well as the prize winning poems, on this website in the following days.

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Competition Results with Rishi Dastidar

Rishi Dastidar

Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by Financial Times, New Scientist, The Guardian and the BBC amongst many others. His debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. A member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, he is also chair of the London writer development organisation Spread The Word. Rishi wrote and judged the meme poetry challenge on Young Poets Network. He has also edited The Craft – A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century. Rishi’s latest collection, Saffron Jack, is published by Nine Arches (£9.99).

We are delighted to host Rishi on Zoom for the highlight of our year. He has been the judge for our 2021 Open Competition and we are excited to be able to hear him announce the results on Tuesday 20 April 2021. Our meeting starts at 8.00pm and will begin with the competition. Rishi will read his report and the winners will read their prizewinning poems. The winners will be published on the website after the event.

In the second half of the programme, we will hear Rishi reading from his own poetry. A cornucopia for poetry lovers! Do join us! (Open to non-members on payment of £3 at the PayPal link on the right of this post.)


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By Water, by David Smith

This poem by Society member David Smith was published in Folio #74, in 2020.

By Water

It’s lovely at night when the light shines through,
when the white of the page reveals itself
between the black ink waves
and you see, in the gaps,
the story unfolding.

It’s hard sometimes,
so many ripples, so much white noise,
to see the strands.
But you know they’re there. Waiting.

You could take a boat, row for the islands.
trailing a net to trawl the gaps
for their treasures.
They slip through
but leave a residue:
slick as oil, slippery as eelskin,
but the tang of it is enough
to get things rolling.

Come morning the tide is out,
the boat beached in a nest of pebbles,
but the gaps are still there,
shining through the blue,
and the light of the dawning day
makes sense of the darkness.

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