Judging a poetry competition is always a great privilege, and it’s an honour to be asked to do so for Verve. But it’s a subjective endeavour, so here are some clues as to the things I enjoy reading:

I’m looking for poetry that overturns buildings, something that is seismic, but that leaves the possibility for new cities in its wake. Frighten me.

As well as the necessary heart I am looking for technique; for elegant and unusual use of extended metaphor, imagery and sonic possibilities.

Think carefully before you tread on the page. Are you writing about what community is, what it means, or a specific community that you belong to? Is it a descriptive piece or something more metaphysical? Is it a speculative poem, where you try to imagine future communities or what would happen to our sense of community if global politics continues on its current trajectory? I am especially drawn to political poetical poetry – whether that is the slamming of a door or the closing of a purse, and a politic and poetic that support one another. Some of the most arresting political poetry is written from the small places, is personal and cuts deeply.

Enjoy – and remember: the judge is just another human doing their best at an impossible task.

Submit your poems here.