2020 Poetry Competition

Roger Kendall once again agreed to judge our Poetry Competition, entries for which were sent to him towards the end of last year, and remarked as follows:

As on previous occasions, I have been most impressed by the high standard of the entries to this competition.   They cover a variety of subjects, including the recent pandemic, and a range of poetic forms from free verse and rhymed tetrameter to a perfect Shakespearian sonnet. There was a real confidence in all of the writing, poets who had found their ‘voices’and were in control of  both language and structure.  They all usedsome vivid language and some original similes and metaphors.  They explored a number of different moods, the anger ofthe  poet in ‘Nasreen,’ the anxiety of  the out-patient in ‘Breathing Space,’ the humour of the wild-swimmers in ‘Autumn.’

Such was the quality of all the entries, it made choosing a First, Second and Third a difficult task.  As always, it’s a subjective matter, but I would emphasise that every one of these poems is to be highly commended.  It was a great pleasure to read them all and I wish Ripon Writers’ Group a happy and successful writing year and good luck with the next Poetry Competition.

The results:

  • 1st – Peter Page with ‘The Plates’
  • 2nd – Kate Swann with ‘Breathing Space’
  • 3rd– Ros Swaney with ‘Autumn

Entrants were then invited to share their poems by email and the following were very much enjoyed by the membership:

  •  Kate – ‘Breathing Space’ – a poem about an outpatient visit to a hospital for a scan
  • Susan – ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward: a Conversation’ – a poem about 2020 written first as an acrostic sonnet and then rearranged as the competition entry
  • Ros – ‘Autumn’ – a poem about a walk down to the river on an autumn evening in the course of which three women wild swimming in beanie hats are encountered
  • Lindsay – ‘On not being Alone in 2020’ – a poem about a solitary person out and about who encounters a wide variety of things that seem to be in pairs, ending with a dog appearing which seems to think that he and the writer might want to go for a walk together
  • Maggie – ‘Nasreen’ – a poem about a girl Maggie had known at school who, after flouting the rules in her own community, disappears, probably sent ‘back home’ to marry some distant cousin in the interests of family honour
  • Peter H – ‘First Ice Cream’ – a memoir poem about an Italian ice cream vendor whose ice creams were much admired prior to WW2
  • Sheila – ‘Sea Story’ – a poem about a walk on a beach on a day with rough seas and the poet’s ease in conjuring up a sea monster from myth as a result of the way rogue breakers seem to attack her
  • Carol – ‘A René Magritte Moment’ – a short poem about lilac leave shifting in a breeze, sometimes revealing roof tiles behind which seem to leap into the foreground, reminding the poet of the ‘trompe l’oeil’ optical effects used by the painter Magritte
  • Peter P – ‘The Plates’ – a sonnet about plate tectonics which had been previously shared with the Group.

In addition Susan shared Janet’s poem, ‘Hannah’s Song’ inspired by the story in Chapters 1 and 2 of the biblical First book of Samuel. Janet had intended this as a competition entry but it had somehow got missed.



Our friendly group meets once a fortnight at the St Wilfred's Community Centre on Trinity Lane and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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