Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition | Closing Date: 19-Jun-17


This is the 11th year of the Competition which has grown considerably from those early days. It has become a respected competition worldwide and a major part of the Festival year. Last year saw entries from all over the world alongside many from local poets.

The Competition is generously support by the School of English at the University of Kent who donate the University of Kent Prize of £200 for the winner, £100 for second and £50 for third places, £25 for the People’s Choice and the Best Read poem receives a bottle of sparkling wine courtesy of the Wine Room, Tankerton. The Awards Evening will be on 2 October 2017 at the Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent, further details will be announced in due course.


Further details here

Last year’s joint First Prize poems:

Midsummer Landing
Instead of looking at the moon that night
we just slept as the silver cylinder touched down
wobbling like a novice ballerina en pointe.

We woke late and wandered out across
Midsummer Common and I remember
the daisies and Julie’s weightless green minidress

and her new freckles, as if pollen from the sun.
It was hot. They had already opened
the hatch like a fridge door and lowered steps.

Near the bridge crossing the Cam I found
a £5 note on the ground, and we danced
into the Fort St George to spend it.

On the bar was a screen showing what seemed
a snow or underwater scene in a SciFi film
in black and white. We ordered pasties,

an expensive Pimms and a pint of beer
as the grainy figure hesitated
then slowly took a small step, then a few more.

David Attwooll


Love (Through Lidded Eyes)

the banal of us, this blandness, truly love?

Such portent in that word, and yet it seems,

no heavenly flame ignites us from above,

just rare protracted light, in scattered beams.

The socks, the mowing, nested garden chairs,

throw shadows between every slatted blind,

yet love, the word, proclaims such grand affairs,

shedding silver sparkles left in trails behind.

In truth, it glows with subtlety; not ablaze,

a mutual glance, a smile, a flaring phrase,

the safely looping arms encircling waists,

old promises, in memories, each encased.

If love is this, it flows through familiar tracks

light from this is brighter, through the cracks.

Jen Syrkiewicz



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