3rd Prize: ‘Da!’, by Owen Gallagher

Third prize in our 2023 Open Poetry Competition was awarded to ‘Da!’, by Owen Gallagher.

Here’s what our judge Jonathan Edwards said about it:

I trust my body when judging poetry competitions, because it knows better than I do. An involuntary punch in the air or laugh or word spoken aloud in response to a poem can usher it out of the pile of entries and into the prize winners. It happens in this poem for me every time I get to the last stanza, and a shiver in the back of the neck accompanies the speaker’s calling out to a stranger. This poem’s depiction of work, class and family reminded me of the work of Philip Levine, and the directness of this writing is hugely impactful, managing to express the emotional landscape of entire lives in single sentences. But oh, that ending, and how my heart is there!

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