Foyle Young Poets 2014

Foyle Young Poets 2014 open for entries!

Linda France

Bernard and Cerinthe 

If a flower is always a velvet curtain
onto some peepshow he never opens,
it’s a shock to find himself, sheltering
from the storm in a greenhouse,
seduced by a leaf blushing blue
at the tips, begging to be stroked.
He’s caught in the unfamiliar ruffle
of knickerbockers or petticoat, a scent
of terror, vanilla musk. If he were
not himself, he’d let his trembling lips
articulate the malleability of wax;
the bruise of bracts, petals, purple
shrimps; seeds plump as buttocks,
tucked out of harm’s way, cocos-de-mer
washed up off Curieuse or Silhouette.
But being Bernard, he’s dumbstruck,
a buffoon in front of a saloon honey
high-kicking the can-can. Can’t-can’t.
He attempts to cool himself, thinking
about seahorses, Hippocampus erectus,
listening to the rain refusing to stop,
soft against the steamed-up glass.

Linda France is the 2013 National Poetry Competition winner. The NPC is organised by the Poetry Society.

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24 PS members Mona Arshi, Kiran Millwood Hargrave & David Van-Cauter included on Cafe Writers shortlist. PS members Martin Malone, Bethany Pope, Meryl Pugh, and Pat Winslow on longlist (inksweatandtears)

24 Poetry Society member NJ Hynes wins the inaugural Live Canon First Collection Prize. PS member Andrew George on the shortlist (Live Canon)

23 PS members Daisy Behagg, Joanne Clement, Victoria Kennefick on Melita Hume shortlist among others, inc former Foyle winner Amy Blakemore - for best unpublished poetry collection by poet under 35 (Eyewear)

16 Mervyn Morris is Jamaica's first Poet Laureate since independence in 1962 (Jamaica Observer)

16 PS Members on the Poetry School/Pighog shortlist: Amy McCauley, Julia Webb, and Mona Arshi (Pighog)

15 Vijay Seshadri wins the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (Indian Express)

10 Hippocrates Award success for PS members. Valerie Laws, Ellen Storm & Jane Draycott short lists; commended are Polly Atkin, Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, Lydia Kennaway, Jane McLaughlin, Lesley Saunders, Carole Bromley, Cheryl Moskowitz, Marie Naughton, Karen Schofield, and Kate Venables; Youth members & Foyle winners Joseph Davison-Duddles, and Conor McKee on Young Poet Shortlist (Hippocrates)

9 Anne Carson and Rachael Boast on Griffin Prize shortlists (CBC news)

8 PS member Joan Michelson highly commended in Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition, won by John Foggin (camdenlumenpress)

5 John Cooper Clarke: Poetry is not something you have to retire from. There is no heavy lifting involved (Guardian)

2 New Heaney poems published (Guardian)

1 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet winners inc PS members Holly Hopkins and Rebecca Farmer. PS Member wins Stuart Pickford wins Yorkshire Prize category (Poetry Business)

1 PS members on the Poetry School/Pighog longlist include: include Amy McCauley, Anna-May Laugher, Julia Webb, K V Skene, Kamina Banga, Mandy Haggith, Mona Arshi, Pat Winslow, Ramona Herdman, Sharon Black, Susannah Hart, PLUS Paul Adrian who won the NPC in 2010, and Rowena Knight Foyle winner (Poetry School)


28 Why are booksellers afraid of children's poetry? (Guardian)

28 Carol Ann Duffy leads protest outside Pentonville against prison book ban (BBC)

27 Forward Prize judges: Jeremy Paxman, Dannie Abse, Helen Mort, Vahni Capildeo, Cerys Matthews (Forward Arts Foundation)

26 Prominent British writers - including Carol Ann Duffy, Ruth Padel, David Harsent, campaign against ban on books for prisoners (Telegraph)

24 PS member Andy Hickmott 3rd in YorkMix Poetry Comp. Winner Kay Buckley. Sean Street 3rd (York Mix)

24 Dylan Thomas to appear on new set of Royal Mail stamps to commemorate 100 years since his birth (Daily Mail)

19 Andrew Soye wins Kent & Sussex Poetry Competition. Grevol Lindop and Jo Bell 2nd and 3rd. PS members Lindsay Fursland and Caroline Carver among the fourth equal (K & S)

19 JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait (Guardian)

18 PS Member Harry Man is the winner of the Bridges of Struga award for his collection 'Lift' (Struga Poetry Evenings)

18 Is Wilfred Owen's poetry any good? (Spectator)

18 Original copies of magazine edited by Wilfred Owen found after decade-long search (BBC)

14 Jeremy Paxman: poetry does not help children understand the Great War (Mail)

14 Saudi book fair bans 'blasphemous' Mahmoud Darwish works after protest (Guardian)

12 Former factory worker Afaa Michael Weaver wins $100k Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award  (Time)

10 Brunel African Poetry Prize shortlist includes PS member Nick Makoha (

10 The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award opens for entries with Grace Nichols and Simon Barraclough as judges (The Poetry Society)

9 PS Member Rachel Mann writes new poems for stations of the cross unveiled at Manchester Cathedral (BBC)

6 PS member Ann Gray wins Ballymaloe Poetry Prize. Elena Tomorowitz 2nd, Jo Bell 3rd, PS member Amali Rodrigo highly commended (Moth Magazine)

5 Frieda Hughes on becoming a bereavement counsellor: I believe in recycling, I don’t like to waste experiences (Independent)

4 Imtiaz Dharker, Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott, and others paired with archives from St Paul's, British Library, Royal College of Surgeons, Tower Hamlets Archive, and Hackney Archives to create new work (Telegraph)


27 PS Member Peter Daniels shortlisted for Rossica Prize for translation of Russian literature (

26 Kathleen Jamie: the trouble with addressing Scotland from London is that you have to shout very loud (NY Times)

26 Malika Booker & Roger Robinson on OCM Bocas Prize poetry longlist (

26 Baker Prize: PS members Ellen McAteer, Robert Arnold, Alan Gay highly commended. Juliet Antill wins (Skye Reading Room)

25 PS member Pam Job 2nd in Plough Prize poetry comp; John Foggins wins, Jen Campbell 3rd (Plough Prize)

21 Charlotte Runcie: Kristen Stewart may have been criticised for writing a bad poem but Wordsworth and Shakespeare got away with worse (Telegraph)

21 Lines from Shelley's Ozymandias used as protest on building site (Oxford Mail)

20 Slam Poet Byron Vincent: corralling the poorest people perpetuates criminality (Guardian)

19 Natasha Trethewey: the language of a poem slows us down, allows us to reach not only the intellect but also the heart. Which then allows us to hear difficult things about others and ourselves (

19 Michael Baldwin, co-founder of Arvon, obituary (Guardian)

18 Iain Banks's final poetry collection to be published in 2015 (Guardian)

18 Danuta Kean: can it ever be right for a professional writer to write for nothing? (ALCS)

17 London's Young Poet Laureate Warsan Shire writes new poem against female genital mutilation (Guardian)

14 Unpublished W H Davies poem discovered after more than a century (Sevenoaks Chronicle) 

11 Kristen Stewart: Twilight star writes "worst poem of all time" for Marie Claire (Independent)

11 Sebastian Barker, former Chair of the Poetry Society, obituary (Guardian)

11 Former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer prize winner Maxine Kumin dies at 88 (Sun Times)

10 Red Doc by Anne Carson on Folio lit award shortlist (BBC)

7 Iranian poet and activist Hashem Shaabani executed (Poetry Foundation)

5 Poetry Society Member Joan McGavin is Hampshire's new Poet Laureate (BBC)

4 Tamar Yoseloff on being inspired by Martin Creed (Southbank Centre)

3 PS members 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Cafe Writers Competition: Judy Brown, Paul Stephenson, Lucy Maxwell Scott. Success too for PS members Josh Ekroy, Wendy Klein, Valerie Morton (Cafe Writers)

1 Billy Collins sells his archive to the University of Texas (New York Times)


30 Success for PS members in South Bank Poetry Competition. Paul Stephenson wins; Sarah Gibbons, Robert Peake, and Ellen Cranitch 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively. Ian McEwen, Gillie Robic, and Kathy Pimlott commended (Katherine Lockton blog)

30 Success for PS Members in Rialto Poetry Competition. Colin Hughes wins, Paul Bavister, Alison McNulty, Caroline Squire, and Pat Winslow Highly Commended (Rialto)

29 Sappho: two previously unknown poems indubitably hers, says scholar (Guardian)

29 Banjo Paterson: is he still the bard of the bush? (Guardian)

28 Jo Bell wins £3k Charles Causley Prize. PS Member Dorothy Coventon 2nd; success also for PS members Ama Bolton (highly commended), Victor Tapner, Judith Taylor, Gina Wilson, Mark Fiddes, Penelope Shuttle, James Greene, Elizabeth Burns, Judy Brown, Sharon Black, Heber-Percy, Kirsten Irving, Lesley Saunders, Ann Pilling (Charles Causley news blog)

27 Robot composes Shakespearean sonnet (Daily Mail)

24 David Hockney: the poets that make me paint (Guardian)

20 Salena Godden: passion and hard work are the keys to writing (London Evening Standard)

20 PS members Ian McEwen, Andrew Rudd & Pnina Shinebourne among longlist for Venture Pamphlet Award (Venture Poetry)

20 Success for PS members Mark Fiddes, Ian McEwen, Victoria Kennefick, & Usha Kishore in Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Comp (Munster Lit Centre)

18 Former US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan recovering from bike crash (Marin News)

16 Poet Dan O'Brien discusses real life hauntings on the eve of the opening of his new play (Metro)

16 Morag Morris obit. Bletchley Park codebreaker who taught poetry to emerging actors, and support of Wilfred Owen Association (Guardian)

15 Poetry Society President Roger McGough to chair award for poetry books written for children (CLPE)

15 Argentine poet Juan Gelman, fierce critic of the 'dirty war', dies aged 83 (Guardian)

14 Natasha Trethewey, US Laureate: Despair about the place of poetry in American culture is nothing new (Washington Post)

14 Liu Xia, wife of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, speaks out through her poetry (BBC)

13 TS Eliot poetry prize goes to Sinéad Morrissey's Parallax (Guardian) 

12 Michel Pleau, Canada's new poet laureate: poetry belongs to everyone (Globe and Mail)

12 Simon Curtis, former editor of The Interpreter's House, obituary (Guardian)

11 Jenny Swann, Candlestick Press: ...two times in life when poetry is particularly important: in love and in loss (Guardian)

11 Helen Mort: Poetry is like trying on a hat (Telegraph)

10 Poet and activist Amiri Baraka dies, aged 79 (BBC)

6 Michael Symmons Roberts wins the Costa Poetry Award (BBC)

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