We are delighted to announce the winners poets of the 2018 Verve Poetry Competition, as judged by celebrated poet Luke Kennard. Congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you to everyone around the world that entered the Verve Poetry Competition this year!
First Prize (£500)
Consuelo Marshall – ‘Myself as Playboy Bunny’
Second Prize (£250)
Jacqueline Saphra – ‘Shoreditch’
Third Prize (worth £100)
Claire Trévien – ‘Brain as a City’
“I think I’ve read for around ten poetry competitions over the years, but this is the first time I’ve judged something with a specific theme, and that made it quite a different experience. It was more like reading a vast, 600 page anthology, grappling with ideas of the city, experiences within it, personal histories both in celebration and lamentation. The poems had all the noise and stimulation of the city, and it was a privilege to be let in to these thoughts and stories, especially the more idiosyncratic. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the topic there was an unusually refined grasp of sensory detail, of the local as the universal, of one’s story honestly told being an act of intellectual generosity. On the first read through you’re really just absorbing everything, allowing the poems to work on you in whatever way the author intended or didn’t, gratefully receiving new perspectives and insights from an exciting range of voices. The more painful part comes when you have to start selecting, forming piles of Yes and Maybe, leaving some behind and taking others to the next round. You start to wonder who exactly you are to be entrusted with such a task. An attentive reader, I suppose, and I suppose that’s enough. I’m delighted with the winning and commended poems, as difficult as it was to choose so few from a field crowded with talent. Each time I return to them I find something else to admire; am struck again by the freshness and persuasion of the tone; the sense of an imagination as alive, as crowded, as joyful or poignant as the cities they conceive.”
Our City Poems event on Saturday morning has SOLD OUT but you can still buy tickets for other fantastic readings at the Festival here.