Canterbury poet of the year 2016 Closing date 17th June!!!

There’s not much time left before this year’s competition closes. Having won last year (spent the money and drunk the wine – yes you win both!) I have the honour of being on this year’s judging panel.

The deadline for entries is 17 June after which the judges select a longlist of about 40 poems which will be published in the Poet of the Year Anthology. Once the shortlist has been selected the poets are invited to read their work at the Awards Evening on Friday 7 October. The winner is announced on the night.

The winning poet will received the University of Kent Prize of £200 and the title of Poet of the Year, second prize is £100 and third £50. In addition the Best Read Poem, as read by the poet him or herself, receives a bottle of Sparkling Wine, and the People’s Choice, the audience’s favourite poem, receives £25.

Full details here

Here’s my poem from last year. Bon chance!


I’m beginning to like strangers for their hollowness,
the way there’s no knowing what’s inside them
no matter how close you stand. You can check out
the lining of their coats for a giveaway shimmer

or search the home-sewn seams of a woman
two seats ahead on the Grimsby bus, note how
she hangs her head as if listening to something far off –
an accordion humming by the Seine,

a French Resistance radio cluttering airwaves:
Ici Londres ! Les Français parlent aux Français.
She has needle-thin lips, a cloud of knitting on her lap,
stains from last night’s supper on her jumper.

I wonder if she sent coded messages after songs –
there’s a flood at the telephone exchange,
a detour on the road to Cleethorpes, a wedding
to rearrange somewhere south of Waltham.

I get off before her, pass her knuckled-down body,
scavenge for a hint, a scent, a secret past.
The doors shudder open – I pour myself out
like hard water in sullen rain, hear the click-click

of the bus sign flicking: Laceby, Healing, Harbrough
know my stranger will lose herself on Roman roads
and not know how to ask her way home:
Ici Londres ! Les Français parlent aux Français.

4 thoughts on “Canterbury poet of the year 2016 Closing date 17th June!!!”

  1. Love the first sentence of this poem and where you take us. Your poem pays homage to keeping our eyes open, keeping our imaginations and feelings of humanity alive – even for all those strangers out there that we glimpse. You are an excellent sleuth in this poem. Vive la curiosité ! 🙂

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