All Entries of 2020 Paper Swans Press Single Poem Competition
The poems in this year’s Paper Swans single poem competition certainly felt like they had an edge of panic and fear thumping through them. Similarly, many of the poems were about seeing loved ones from different angles, recognising the small gesture between couples and kin that were acts of love. There were many poems about illness, indeed the winning poem, with its devastating geography of a scan is about illness, and there were a lot of poems that were about longing for escape in one form or another. These showed up in free verse and form, structured and unstructured poems but the thing that linked all the poems, 267 in all, was the quality.
‘I have never come across such quality when judging a poetry competition, so rest assured that if you didn’t make the final thirteen, your poem was still highly thought of. It obviously made my job that bit harder, but it also made me home in on the craft of the poems I was reading, making sure that every poem on the list could justify its place there. Often a poem would start strong, but that strength would peter out towards the end, or a good idea was lost in obscure or ambiguous imagery. Sometimes metaphors would be mixed, and it just jarred a little. My advice to any poet specifically writing about a large scale event is to look for the detail, find the small angle that allows us to look closely and see the human aspect. My other piece of advice, to those who haven’t made the last thirteen is this: keep going, keep tweaking, keep submitting.’ – Wendy Pratt, Judge