Winchester Poetry Prize winners announced

Poet Liz Berry had a problem getting the huge box of entries for the 2018 Winchester Poetry Prize through the door.

‘The postman chivalrously offered to carry it over the threshold’, the poet, and judge of this year’s international poetry competition, said as she paid tribute to the quality and quantity of poems she was presented with – more than 1500 of them.

‘It was a joy to read and to choose these poems, to hold them up to the light so others might see them,’ she said.

This year’s prize of £1000, announced at a special event during Winchester Poetry Festival, on Saturday 6 October, is won by Inua Ellams for his poem Plight/Fantasy. Ellams is a touring poet, playwright, performer graphic artist and designer and was a hit with audiences at Winchester Poetry Festival in 2016. His poem, said Liz Berry ‘knocked me off my feet… It blazes a tense fiery narrative of flight and fear, of a mother’s anxiety and a furious love. Lyrical and unsettling, the form – with its slashes in place of line breaks – pushes us breathlessly through to that final extraordinary image. What a poem!’

Second place (£500) went to Richard Evans for Murmuration. Laurence O’Dwyer won third prize (£250) for his poem Garage League. A special prize for the best entry from a poet living in Hampshire was won by Rachel Curzon for Jardin des Tuileries.