PPP Poetry Competition 2023

The results for the PPP poetry competition are now in! First and foremost, our profound thanks to everyone who entered – we received over 500 entries. This did mean a lot of work for our judge Steve Pottinger, but it has – more importantly – enabled us to raise a total of £851.77 to support the work of Good Shepherd who do so much to help homeless people in Wolverhampton. This exceeds our wildest expectations, and will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable folk in our home city. Thank you all.

Steve says: “The standard of poems received was incredibly high. It’s a privilege as the judge of a competition to get to read so much clever, crafted, imaginative, and passionate work. Sifting the entries down to a longlist of fifty was tricky; getting to a shortlist of twenty, harder still. Choosing the winners and commended pieces from that list of twenty meant reading and re-reading them, finding which ones I kept returning to with a sense of anticipation and wonder, the poems which remained with me long after I’d read them, the ones I wanted to share with other people. I hope you enjoy the winning poems as much as I do.”

Shortlisted poets:

Carol Howarth, Chrissie Dreier, James Purchase, Jean Atkin, John Woodall, Judi Sutherland, Kathryn Bevis, Kevin Reid, Penny Blackburn, Tim Relf, Tony Watts.

Commended poets:

Adam Elms A Clean Break
Barbara Chapman Capel Celyn – Drinking the Welsh
Denni Turp A night in the life
Dillon Jaxx  Holy Days
Keith Chandler Homes under the hammer
Mary Mulholland Fish and chips

3rd prize

Jane Burn When I was sent to Coventry for real.

Judge’s comment: This poem made an impact in standing up for and celebrating the unfashionable, unsung city of Coventry and inviting us along to share what the poet found so beautiful and memorable in it. The closing lines “Then I’ll stay/the silence here is beautiful” made me gasp. They were perfect.

2nd prize

Kathryn Bevis Preparing Sunday lunch with Nan-Nan’s ghost

Judge’s comment: This is a glorious, vivid piece of writing which never puts a foot wrong, invites us into a family and a past we didn’t know and makes us feel we’ve lived there forever, and reminds us of mortality without ever labouring the point. I loved it the first time I read it, and have found something new to marvel at and appreciate each time I’ve read it subsequently.

1st prize

Jeanette Burton I contemplate the afterlife whilst watching an episode of Only Fools And Horses

Judge’s comment: This piece stood out among the hundreds of others the first time I read it. It’s a wonderfully sustained piece of invention and imagination, a weaving together of the familiar and the metaphysical, and by the time I was reading about a cat with the comic timing of Tommy Cooper it had completely won me over. It’s so beautifully crafted – often a poem with a great title or a promising premise runs out of steam part way through, but this keeps throwing us the unexpected and glorious, line after line. And those closing lines stir up a whole welter of emotions, every time I read them.