Words and Ears launches national poetry competition

Words & Ears, Bradford on Avon’s monthly poetry reading series, has announced its fifth national poetry competition, this year with a first prize of £500. The competition, run in association with Bradford on Avon Arts Festival 2017 (September 2nd – 17th) is also offering £150 for second and £100 for third place, plus seven Highly Commended awards and a special local prize for those living in the BA15 (Bradford on Avon) postcode area.

Poems for the competition are to be written on the Festival’s 2017 theme, Flights of Fancy (interpretation can be wide) and should be 20 lines or less. The closing date for entries is July 30th 2017. Entry is £4 for one poem, or £10 for three. No entry form is required. Full rules and entry details are available on the Festival website, www.boaartsfestival.com

All finalists will be invited to read their poems at a finals event during this year’s Festival, on Sunday, September 17th. This event will include a performance of her own work by the competition judge Carrie Etter. Carrie is a Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and has published three collections: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Award; Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011); and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry by The Poetry Society.

The previous poetry competition run by Words & Ears and the Arts Festival was Poems On A Beermat in 2014, which attracted entries from as far afield as Australia and the United States. Judged by poet Martin Malone, it saw finalists’ poems printed on beermats available in local pubs. The winner was Lesley Saunders, and the runners up were John Glenday and Roy Marshall.

Words & Ears takes place on the final Thursday of the month at The Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon. The event is £3 on the door.

There’s also an extra, sea-themed Words & Ears event coming soon, at the Greenhill Cottage Gallery, Southwick, near Trowbridge BA14 9PR, at 7.30pm on Easter Monday, April 17th. This will feature guest poet Rebecca Gethin, who will read a selection of her poems relating the sea – think mermaids, selkies, smugglers and seabirds – to the backdrop of the brilliant art installation Beached by ceramicist Liz Watts, which featured at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Rebecca’s new collection is A Sprig of Rowan (Three Drops Press), about which Penelope Shuttle says: ‘We are taken on an elemental and magical journey rich in colour, close observation and lovely active language. A beautiful collection.’ Open mic contributions welcome as always – particularly on the theme of the sea! Entry is £5 on the door, to include a glass of wine or soft drink.

For enquiries about the competition, or Words & Ears, please email organiser Dawn Gorman: dawn@dawngorman.co.uk For more details about Words & Ears, go to http://www.dawngorman.co.uk/

Dawn Gorman

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