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Showing posts from April, 2014

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: SOHINI BASAK (8 OF 11)

Sohini Basak (pictured) was born in 1991 in Kolkata. She studied literature for her undergraduate degree at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, during which she won prizes for her poetry at the R├ŽdLeaf India as well as the Reliance-Unisun TimeOut competitions. Her writing has been published (or is forthcoming) in journals such as Ink, Sweat and Tears; The Cadaverine; Ambit; The Four Quarters Magazine; Helter Skelter and Muse India. She moved to the UK in September 2013 to study for an MA in Writing at the University of Warwick where is working on her first collections of poetry and short fiction.

How to Breed Lilacs
First, learn not to stereotype months, then walk
on all fours, sniffing the garden soil, stop at the warmest
patch of earth. Then, dig. Dig deep, dig with love, do not use
a shovel, dig until your ankles are covered, upturn minerals
until the earthworms tickle your toes. Always use your hands,
for everything. Watch out for the microscopic snails who leave
behind trails, s…

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: SHELLEY ROCHE-JACQUES (7 OF 11)

Dr Shelley Roche-Jacques (pictured) was born in 1978 in Sheerness, on the Isle of Sheppey. She studied at Sheffield Hallam University, where she recently completed a PhD on the Browningesque dramatic monologue. She also works at Sheffield Hallam as an Associate Lecturer.

Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Rialto, The Wolf, Magma, Other Poetry, The SHOp, The Interpreter's House and The Boston Review. A selection of her work is included in the anthology Ten Hallam Poets, published by Mews Press and The Sheffield Anthology from Smith/Doorstop. She has collaborated with actors, musicians and other poets. She adapted her sequence about the life of the Pre-Raphaelite model Elizabeth Siddal for performance and received Arts Council funding to write and perform a sequence of dramatic monologues in response to an archive of Victorian flood compensation claims.
Mouse in a Government Building

They've had their fingers burnt before
pulling rabbits out of hats.
We stay hushed in…

FOYLE AGAIN!

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: RACHAEL MADELEINE NICHOLAS (6 of 11)

Rachael Madeleine Nicholas (pictured), born in 1987, is a poet from Birmingham in the West Midlands, where she continues to live and work. Her writing has appeared both online and in print, in issues of Magma, Gigantic Sequins, and the Cadaverine, and she has performed her work at readings across the country, including an event at the Ledbury Poetry Festival.



She completed her MA in Creative Writing, with a focus on poetry, from the University of Birmingham in 2011. In 2012 she was selected as a recipient of the Eric Gregory Award, presented by the Society of Authors. She was runner-up in the 2013 Melita Hume competition, judged by Jon Stone.

Somewhere Near in the Dark
Something prized and bloodless
or chipped off and lost, rattling inside
like an uneven engine idling somewhere
near in the dark.

My brothers, returning to their
cities, wish me luck while I,
in turn, pretend I didn’t hear
and watch the small dog, split
in the softness of her belly,
arch away from the grass,
cowed by a snap of pain

an…

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: JOANNE CLEMENT (5 OF 11)

Joanne Clement (pictured) was born in 1986 in the North East town of Darlington. Under the tutelage of W.N. Herbert, in 2013 Newcastle University awarded Joanne distinction for a creative writing MA, with a specialism in poetry. The recipient of a Northern Promise Award in 2012, she was selected by New Writing North and Paul Farley to develop her first collection.



A first class English undergraduate with Leeds Trinity and All Saints, Joanne was awarded the Jack Higgins Prize for Outstanding Achievement. Since graduating, she has researched for BBC Radio 4’s Writing the Century and The Tenth Muse, presented by Jackie Kay. She looks forward to starting a PhD at Newcastle University this year. Joanne is undertaking an ekphrastic investigation into the engravings of natural history author Thomas Bewick, with the support of a Northern Bridge studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Wood Picture Your shoulders, they must ache still, in the burn
of yesterday's lime. Would …

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: DAISY BEHAGG (4 OF 11)

Daisy Behagg (pictured), born in 1987, grew up on the south coast, and attained a BA and MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University, both with distinction. She was the first winner of the Templar portfolio prize in 2014: her winning short pamphlet Cockpit Syndrome will be published in May. In 2013 she won the Bridport prize for poetry, and was long-listed for the Cinnamon debut collection prize. Her work has appeared in The Rialto, Poetry Wales, The North, Ambit, The Warwick Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Stand. She currently lives in Bristol, teaches creative writing and edits for online arts journal New Linear Perspectives.

THE SINGING OF THE REAL WORLD

You could say it was light,
with its talent for reading
the true thoughts of objects
– light speaking
the language of motion.

He threw a handful of sand,
saw how the light revealed in it
a constellation's glitter
for briefest moments, saw
the moving potential for glass

suspended – falling – then
he saw the hidden verb
in everyth…

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: BETHAN TICHBORNE (3 OF 11)

Bethan Tichborne (pictured) was born in London in 1984 and grew up in Tonbridge, where she attended Tonbridge Grammar School. She graduated from Exeter College, Oxford in 2008, where she studied Philosophy and Italian. She is involved in social justice activism and has written for various political blogs including Bright Green, Liberal Conspiracy and New Internationalist. She works at a printing co-op in East Oxford that prints leaflets and zines for activists and community groups. She was also shortlisted for the first Melita Hume Poetry Prize in 2012. Her poetry has appeared on nthposition.com, in Alan Morrison’s anthology Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State, and in a feature article in the Big Issue. She is related to the poet Chidiock Tichborne.
Sisyphus
The sun, the rain, the mud the hooves, the sun, the dust
the archaeologist.

Silt shifts and unearths you and the rivers will suck you up
and sort you, heavy bones here, light there.

In this river bend there are hundreds …

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: BEN PARKER (2 of 11)

Ben Parker (pictured) was born in Worcester in 1982. He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter and completed a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia in 2008. He now lives and works in Oxford.


His poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013 Michael Marks Award.
Endings Allotments. Shattered chimney stacks. A black bag tangled like a crow in the leafless tree. As you walk beyond the last of the deserted red-brick factory buildings the city rusts around you. The river thins to a stream that could be forded by a fallen branch. This is a place of past tenses, an archaeology of skeletal bikes, single gloves and bleached cans of beer the supermarkets no longer stock. Spent matches hint at flame on flesh. The rituals of childhood. So…

THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: AMY BLAKEMORE (1 of 11)

The Melita Hume Poetry Prize is for the best first unpublished poetry collection by a poet based in Ireland or the UK, and 35 years of age or under, at time of entry.  The work must be original, and in English. 50% can have appeared previously as a pamphlet.  The prize is £1,400 and a publishing deal with Eyewear.

This year we received many impressive submissions, and our award-winning Faber poet, Emily Berry (Dear Boy, 2013, Forward winner), has made a shortlist of the best 11.  Over the next few weeks, before we announce the winner on the 7th of May, this blog will be featuring a poem by each of the shortlisted poets.  We start today with Amy Blakemore.

Amy Blakemore (pictured) was born in Deptford, London in 1991. She started writing poetry at the age of fifteen. She was named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year twice, in 2006 and 2007, and read English Language & Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Her work has been published in a number of magazines and zines, and is featured in …

THE SHORTLIST IS ANNOUNCED FOR THE MELITA HUME PRIZE 2014!

MEDIA RELEASE 23 APRIL 2014
FORWARD-WINNER EMILY BERRY SHORTLISTS 11 FOR THE £1,400 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE 2014

Faber award-winning poet Emily Berry (Dear Boy, 2013) – the 2014 judge for Eyewear’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize (now in its third year) – has dialled up the shortlist to 11, with debut poets from Scotland, Ireland and England. The prize – the richest of its kind – also comes with guaranteed publication and launch in spring 2015 from the indie publisher known for its stylish hardcovers and international roster of talent. Any poet living in the UK or Ireland 35 years or under at time of entering is eligible – the prize is for the best full, original and unpublished collection of poetry submitted in that year.Previous winners include Granta-listed poet Caleb Klaces and Scotland’s Marion McCready.

Judge Berry said: 'It turns out judging a competition is tough! There were a lot of strong contenders this year and I had a happy and occasionally challenging time selecting the final e…

GOOD FRIDAY NEW POEM BY TODD SWIFT

I wrote once of Christ swimming

on the cross. A friend
suggested I stop such things -
and now I can't recall
if the image was stolen,
probably from Hill.  I wrote
about Christ often when eighteen.
I loved the spring.
It came violently in Quebec, then.

And I had been born
on a Good Friday. If Christ
swam on the cross, he didn't drown.
He took the wood as a boat.
Water was always good to Christ.
God flooded the world easily.
When the ferry overturned
it took hundreds of kids

into a place without breathing.
They did not walk up out of there
like Jesus. I don't blame God
for disasters at sea. I do, though
wonder at prayer, at praying,
when it seems God rarely hears.
But back to Christ on his oars,
rowing his lungs back

to crushing his own breathing
down.  He drowned on the cross
in the blue air of spring.
But it would have felt like summer
in the heat. He dove into
his crucifixion like it was a lake
clear as a promise to be kind.
To be good. He swam out to

the raft, to cling to the wood
that did him no good, t…

EYEWEAR'S LIST OF 175 OF THE KEY POETS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

NOTE: I have edited and expanded this to 175 poets, after receiving some helpful feedback and also making notes after insomnia.

If you are, fortunately for everyone, alive today, and you write and publish poetry, you are a 21st century poet.  Other poets, less lucky, have died in the last 100 years or so, but their great contribution to poetry continues.  Poems, of all the literary art forms, are perhaps the most generous gifts, because compared to the energy and effort involved in their creation, the material returns are the least - so they stand as bequests to eternity, or at least, posterity.

Even a weak, or minor, poet may create a poem or three that are wonderful, moving, crafty, cunning, potent, convincing, wise, helpful, funny or delightful - but below is a list of 175 poets, who have written in the English language primarily, who published most of their poetry in the 20th century, and are no longer with us, who gave us whole collections that were and are vital and necessary to r…