It has been a pleasure judging the Guernsey International Poetry competition. I was impressed by the range of poetry that, as a whole, seemed to touch on every subject imaginable. I also appreciated the discipline of the many poets who wrote succinctly and vividly remembering that the power of poetry lies in its turn of phrase, in its lively associations between unusual things so that in a few words the reader can be held and transported at once.
I was perhaps most surprised by the Youth Category because so many young poets showed a grasp of poetic form that allowed them to explore both youthful and mature subjects with sufficient confidence to repeatedly have me gripped. My winner made me sit up straight with the force of elegy for a decimated way of life, part-impassioned political text and part- spectral poem where the communal and the personal met with devastating force. An astonishing, wise poem that’s all the more impressive for its historical reach give that it’s written by a young poet.
The Guernsey Category showed superb competence and imaginative vigour and implied there must be something in the air or in the water of Guernsey that produces so many exciting poets. The winning poem showed the power of observation, the poet sits in the car and watches the natural and human world take on memorable transformations.
Finally, I was deeply impressed by the Open Category where many outstanding poems vied with each other for the top slots, there were many poems that dealt with serious issues such social issues alongside those that explored the complexities of relationships. My winner was a deeply disturbing poem that brought home to me the impact of PTSD, a succession of reframed images show authoritatively the horrors of trauma being re-enacted.
I have judged many competitions over many years, and the Guernsey International Poetry Competition was as rewarding as the best of them! It is with pride I present my winners which I hope the reader will take to heart and enjoy them as much as I did.