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Due to Covid19 we have no firm date yet for our next Festival.  However our Poetry Competition is going ahead as usual.

If we are unable to stage a live awards ceremony we shall have an international zoom evening when winning poets can read their successful poems.

Festival Open Poetry Competition

Prizes:      1st – £500        2nd – £250        3rd – £100

Judge:  Helen Ivory

 Local Competition – Devon residents only

Prizes:      1st – £100        2nd – £50          3rd – £25

Judge:  Alasdair Paterson

Closing date:  31 January 2021

Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist. Her fifth Bloodaxe collection is The Anatomical Venus (May 2019). It was shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards, and won the 2019 EDP, East Anglian Writers ‘By the Cover Award.’ She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is a tutor for UEA/NCW online creative writing. Fool’s World, a collaborative Tarot with Tom de Freston (Gatehouse Press) won the 2016 Saboteur Best Collaborative Work award.  A book of mixed media poems Hear What the Moon Told Me is out from KFS and a chapbook Maps of the Abandoned City appeared from SurVision Press in 2019.  As part of Versopolis 2020, she has a chapbook of poems translated into Polish and also one in Ukrainian.

Alasdair Paterson’s most recent collections are Elsewhere Or Thereabouts (Shearsman Books 2014), My Life As A Mad King (Oystercatcher 2016) and Silent Years (Flarestack Poets 2017). Born in Edinburgh, he began writing poetry in Liverpool in the 1970s and won an Eric Gregory Award in 1975, later taking a 20 year sabbatical from poetry before starting to write again after retiring from university life. He lives in Exeter, where he organizes and presents the monthly Uncut Poets reading series.


Open Competition Winners – Judged by Hannah Lowe

The Kiss by Jo Haslam

When I ask she lifts her head, touches her nose
to mine, the way her Arabic grandma
has shown her. I love the delicacy of this.
It brings to mind the horses, two greys
in the field on our way home; how they run
into buffets of wind, their soft whicker
as they meet, proffer their cold noses
to each other. How they stand in the openess
of sky and bending grass, pale manes blown
across their necks . How they are attentive
to each other. And I hope that I can love her ,
my granddaughter, with this same kindness
and economy, the one touch to say everything;
love her also with a lift under the arms ,
boisterous into the air, the way the horses swing
their heads. And with delight
because she greets me with the same thing;
and passionate, the way I loved her mother;
but more because her mother is grown up
and she’s so small; and intimately,
courteous, touching nose to nose,
tender as the speechless animals.

Local Competition Winners – Judged by Susan Taylor and Simon Williams
1st Prize – Local Competition

Harvesting with my grand-daughter – Liz Diamond

We walk together between the rows,
our feet cautious on uneven ground.
I hold your hand, then let it go to plunder
for the heavy bell-pulls of the cobs.

I tear one from its hidden place,
show you how to test for ripeness.
ripping back high leaves to reveal
fat beads of yellow reaching to the top.

Only the ripe ones, only these are best.

Your hands, quick, as light as flowers,
move amongst my rough and ageing ones.
The unwanted cobs lie discarded thickly
on the ground. Loss strikes me suddenly:

all the fallen years, all my harvests gone.

The bag is heavy now. My hand
clasps yours again. We turn to go and see
at the row’s far end, your mother is waving,
calling you back.