Poetry Happening Near You

Poetry competition results


The winning entries for the competition this year are:

Adult class - Off, by Bert Flitcroft

Junior class - On, by Hazel Cook

Bert's poem is on the website front page, and we'll put Hazel's up soon. All of us in Poetry on Loan are delighted by the coincidence that has given us an On and an Off as winners!

Well done to Bert and Hazel - and indeed to all those on the shortlist, and everyone who entered! For some people, it was the first time they've entered a poetry competition, so it was quite a brave thing to do.

Again I've been asked by several people who entered if we could publish the shortlist. We had rather a long shortlist of 20 adult poems and 4 junior poems, as follows:

Adult class:

Onwards and upwards to freedom, Ian Hibbert
Bridges, Bert Flitcroft
Uprooted, Lindsey Bailey
Roots to freedom, Ros Woolner
Fradley airfield, Bert Flitcroft
Climbing Helvellyn, Shelagh Wain
Free diver, Brendan Shields
Carrying the fire, June Palmer
Gliding, Shelagh Wain
I can(not), Stephanie Hutton
Bridge, Andrea Mbarushimana
Aspiration, Paul Fraincis
The story, your story, Pauline Woodhouse
High flyer, Anne Harding
Sahara trek, Andrea Mbarushimana
The ladder, Paul Francis
A bid for freedom, Debbi Voisey
The butterfly, Toni Jackson
I rise, Jason Nicholas Smith


Junior class:

The price I pay, Jan Delos Santos
Freedom, Sarayah Garnham
They stole my teeth, Jan Delos Santos




This year we had slightly fewer entries than in 2015, but if anything the standard was even higher, and it was a difficult job for the judges to decide the winners. They are:

Adult class - No action required, by Bert Molsom

Junior class - I suppose you don't remember, by Polina Diakov

Bert's poem is on our front page, and we'll put Polina's up soon.

I've been asked by several people who entered if we could publish the shortlist. We didn't have a shortlist as such - the first round of voting narrowed it to a long list of 24 adult and 5 junior entries, and the final vote looked just at these. However, it seems a good idea to list the top 10 adult and the top 3 junior poems. We'll be using these as our front page poems over the coming months, but here's the list:

Adult class:

Thought for the day, Wendy Goulstone
A photograph of you, Nick Knibb
Yer rock 'n' roll, Peter Branson
On this day, Wendy Goulstone
Searching for Narnia, Jill Bramham
Saturday night devotions,Rapunzel Wizard
No skateboarding in heaven, Ros Woolner
My previous life, Wendy Goulstone
Venus falling, June Palmer
Bill Hook, Peter Branson

Junior class:

Army girls, Ella Lipscomb
Tears, Ella Lipscomb

Well done to all of these poets! In fact, well done to everyone who entered, and we hope you will try again next year.


This year's poetry competition attracted even more entries than last year's. The standard of the shortlisted poems was very high indeed, and the panel of library staff who judged the poems found their task a difficult one - there were very nearly fist fights!

However, two worthy winners emerged:

Adult class - Ghost Town, by Peter Hill

Junior class - Come with me - a journey of writing, by Millie Gould

Both Peter and Millie can be heard reading their poems at the Postcard Poets event, "Come with me", on Saturday 10th October, 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm, in The Door, part of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Five of the eight postcard poets will be performing too - 7 poets for the price of one!

And here are their poems:

Ghost Town

Come with me now to days when steel mills stood
And furnaces scorched night skies bright blood-red;
When Bilston men had jobs and times were good.

You'll see the happy land of our childhood,
Where father's work and pride kept us well fed.
Come with me now to days when steel mills stood.

You'll see a time of sweat and toil and blood.
Yet men looked forward to the day ahead;
When Bilston men had jobs and times were good.

See how our town provided livelihood
For countless homes, in areas widespread.
Come with me now to days when steel mills stood.

A Bilston man of steel knew then he could
Walk tall and straight and proudly hold his head;
When Bilston men had jobs and times were good.

See molten, flowing steel - our town's lifeblood;
Where now tall weeds and poppies grow instead.
Come with me now to days when steel mills stood;
When Bilston men had jobs and times were good.

Peter Hill


Come With Me - A Journey of Writing

A waterfall of words, tumbling and skidding over rough rocks;
Crashing through my tangled imagination,
Free, yet loyal to each other.
Working together; forming streams of description, moving ever onward,
Before gushing into a swirling vortex.

A whirlpool of words, twisting and turning on and on,
Cascading through my disturbed mind.
Distorted reality flooding crevasses of my brain,
Until blocked by a writer’s dam...
Waiting to be freed once again.

A reservoir of words, building up in my mind,
Trickling slowly through my exhausted consciousness.
Ideas rippling outwards, then pushing free, joining forces,
Gaining speed and direction,
Piecing together the jigsaw before me.

Finally the chaos begins to make sense,
The murky darkness clears,
Pen to paper, order from disorder, journey to wonderland.
I have arrived at my destination –
Come with me and explore my new creation.

Millie Gould