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Every two weeks a fortunate poet wins £140 - 14 poets get shortlisted, and one selected the winner... the winner's poem appears at this blog, along with their bio and photo... and the best poems from the shortlist become an anthology in time... Here we go...

Shortlist for the FORTNIGHT PRIZE, NUMBER ONE, May 3-17


1.    ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST, ‘Alignment’ (Canada)

2.    AUDREY MOLLOY, ‘A Gradual Eden’ (Ireland)

3.    CLAIRE CROWTHER, ‘Pets Don’t feel Pity’ (UK)

4.    EMILY OSBORNE, ‘Brute Facts’ (Canada)

5.    ERIC SIGLER, ‘The Panther’ (USA)

6.    FRANCINE WITTE, ‘Charley Explains Baseball To Me’ (USA)

7.    GLEN WILSON, ‘Rented Flat’ (Ireland)

8.    IAN DUDLEY, ‘President’ (UK)

9.    KATE NOAKES, ‘Edward’s Memory’ (France/UK)

10. MARC BRIGHTSIDE, ‘Influence-A’ (UK)

11. ROBIN RICHARDSON, ‘Without A Roof’ (Canada)

12. SILVIA GRADINARU, ‘Beginner’s Luck’ (Romania)


14. SUZANNE MAGEE,’ Cross-section of a Stairwell’ (NI)


Brief judge’s comments – with over 350 poems from around the world, from well-published figures to first-time poets, the prize has already gotten off to a great start – but this made it a genuine challenge to find only 14 poems to represent the shortlist. There were probably 25 poets with some claim to be here, and maybe 50 or more poems almost good enough to make this list, but these stand out – either in terms of freshness, or intelligent reworking of the tradition, or in terms of simply being satisfyingly imaginative forays into language. I will decide the winner and announce them by Friday.  I am going to find it a genuine challenge. The next competition will begin soon, and I hope it is as successful as the first!



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Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.