Got some wonderful news in the post on Friday. My poem, The Lamb, was shortlisted in the Mslexia poetry competition! This is a very prestigious competition and I was thrilled to make the top 100 out of thousands and thousands of entries.
Gillian Clarke, said that though she has judged most major poetry competitions ‘this time reaching a decision was more difficult than usual because the standard was extraordinarily high.’ For those of you not familiar with the procedures of writing competitions, the judge is only asked to read and select from shortlisted poems, all of which are presented without the authors’ names.
Ty Newydd, Writers Centre
I had the pleasure of meeting Welsh poet, Gillian Clarke at Ty Newydd writing centre in North Wales some years ago. She taught a poetry and sculpture course there with sculptor, Meic Watts. I had group and one-on-one sessions with her and learned so much about paring down words, using all the senses, dispensing with functional words and discovering my unique voice.
It’s such an inspirational place on the North Wales coast and the two courses I followed there were blessed with fantastic weather. One of our assignments was to create sculptures from natural materials, and some of the wonderful creations are shown below. I made the forest washing line, spiral of flowers and driftwood mask sculpture. Friend and poet, Sue Chadd made the stone fish. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a record of the names of the creators of the other artworks but their talent is self-evident. Pedantic rules regarding publishing work on personal blogs prevent me sharing the shortlisted poem with you but here’s another poem, Called to Earth, which I wrote at Ty Newydd to accompany the flower spirals.
Called to Earth
Footprints in blood, an Indian wedding.
The rosy red that spirals into white.
Sap that rises and ebbs again.
Flowers bathed in morning dew
feel cool and damp against my fingers.
Wet velvet, a foal’s nose nuzzling my palm.
Cupped petals cascade towards the shimmer
and beckon of the sea.
I remember the goddess of shells,
that deserted beach in Portugal,
the shade of the Cypress tree.
Yes, that young woman in the dungarees and strawberry top is me! Or at least it was me, a good few years ago…