We had an absolute blast at our last formal meeting at the start of May with poet Martin Grey revealing the winners of our competition and entertaining us with some wonderful poems of his own.

Martin said that he was really impressed with the quality and depth of the poems with many different interpretations of the theme ‘Edge’. Some of the definitions covered topics such as boundaries, connections, edging along, the edge of a blade, etc. The most common tended to relate to personal connections, such as holding hands, losing and gaining love and friendship.

Before we get to the winners there were three ‘honourable mentions’:

  • Underneath the Arches” by AKS Shaw – grounded in a well-described location and focusing on the dehumanisation of homelessness;
  • Hand in Glove” by Anne Howkins – Martin felt this was very beautiful, painting interesting pictures and visuals, whilst also appearing to be about murder;
  • Final Leap” by Linda Cooper – simply worded but effective, short sentences give a natural agitation and urgency, feeling almost suicidal; it draws you in to a clever, glorious end.

Top Local poet went to Anne Howkins and her poem “Nothing But Chanel“. This was very sensual and romantic and Martin really liked the use of showing beauty through aged bodies rather than the traditional way with youth. This felt really ‘in the moment’ with a sub-theme of how much is ultimately down to the perfume.

Martin said that the top five or six were really close and on another day any of them could have won. Those that ultimately made it on to the podium were as follows:

In third place was “The Author Must Be Living” by Ron Harper of Sutton Coldfield. This was, said Martin, the most innovative take on the theme, a humorous view of the rules relating to entering a poetry competition (how wonderfully ‘meta’!) and it was clear that the author had good fun writing it.

In second place was “The Victory Spoils” by Trish Wilson from Scunthorpe. Martin felt this said so much in just twelve lines, it was almost as if it was saying more between the lines. Very much in the spirit of Wilfred Owen and the war poets it gives a sense of what people went through, living on the edge between life and death on a battlefield. It had beautiful lines and metaphors as well as powerful word play.

The overall winner was “Observatory” by Julie Burke from just down the road in West Bridgford. This was a very quiet and personal piece about watching a baby while asleep and the use of astronomical vocabulary to describe the immense gravitational pull being felt by the observer. Martin said that this was a fresh take on a universal thing with lots of detail that paints a very colourful picture.

We were very pleased to have Ron and Trish in attendance and they participated in the evening by reading out their winning poems. The top four are available here for your delight and delectation.

Ron, Martin and Trish

Once the competition announcements were complete Martin gave readings of some of his own poetry, including “Homeless Guy“, “Fish, Chips, Bread and Butter and a Cigarette“, a poem about Berlin and a hauntingly powerful performance of “Bones” which describes a bus journey with someone who may not be alright.

We also had a run through of some other Fosseway material, mainly to give Martin a rest, ending with a couple of daft poems from Linda Cooper (“Brownie Points“, as featured in our anthology) and “The Ghost of Fitness Past” by Nick Rowe.

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