This year’s winner is James Knox Whittet for the poem ‘A Machine at Full Speed’. His prize will include having a chapbook published, 50 free copies and a launch reading in the Camden venue.

The results are:

 

1st Place:

James Knox Whittet – A Machine at Full Speed

 

Highly Commended:

Matt Barnard – Eel

 

Kitty Beltree – Magician’s Daughter  and  Romeo y Julietta

 

Greg Byrne – Oubliette

 

Gillian Henchley – Christmas Shopping

 

Belinda Singleton – Restriction

 

Ruth Smith – Anticipation of Rain  and  Hello Stranger

 

Selwyn Veater – Under Cover Bistro

 

 

The International Lumen and Camden Poetry Competition 2015/2016 is open for entries, giving you the chance to have 20 pages of your poetry published in a perfect bound chapbook while also supporting the homeless, with the added benefit of being selected by the competition’s prestigious judge, George Szirtes.

This competition is unusual as the entry fee per poem is just £2.50 to make it possible for everybody to have a try. The winner will be selected on the basis of just one prizewinning poem (maximum length 40 lines), so you don’t have to submit the whole chapbook for a chance of being published. If you want to submit more poems there are discounts, with 6 poems costing just £10.

The winner will receive 50 copies of their chapbook to keep, sell, or give to friends. They will also be invited to read at the regular Lumen and Camden venues, if they can make it and would like to, and their chapbooks will also be offered for sale online and at the twice-monthly events. Money raised from chapbook sales by the publishers and by the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series will go to the Cold Weather Shelters supported by this project.

The closing date each year is February 14th, but it’s never too soon to enter.

You can enter by post by sending your poems and a cheque (made payable to ‘Caris Camden’) to Ruth O’Callaghan, or you can send the poems by post and pay by Paypal if you prefer. For international and other entries it’s possible to enter by using Paypal and then either posting the poems or sending them in an email. We are adding a new email for online entries and Paypal, to be confirmed soon.

Regulars at the Lumen and Camden open mic events can hand their entry to Ruth, who will pass them on to George Szirtes. There is no need for an application form as you can put the titles of the poems plus your name, address and contact details on a separate sheet of paper. Email entries are made anonymous by an assistant before being passed to the judge.

For postal entries the address is: Ruth O’Callaghan, 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake London, SW14 8HF. Please make sure that cheques are made payable to Caris Camden and not to Ruth or the publisher.

Do join in and also post details about this competition on your own blogs and websites as the competition is likely to raise a substantial amount to help the homeless while also giving a poet a highly desirable prize.

This year’s judge, the award-winning poet George Szirtes, has chosen Gillian Henchley’s poem Isola Bella as the winner. Gillian Henchley’s prize will include having a chapbook released by Ward Wood Publishing in November this year, and she will work with editor Adele Ward in the coming months to select and work on the poems for her collection. She will also receive 50 copies and will have a launch reading in the Camden venue on December 4th. We hope to see some of you there!

The results are:

 

1st Place:

Gillian Henchley – Isola Bella

Highly Commended:

Afrodita Nikolova – Next Time You Say Grandma’s Senile I will Let you Wander in Her Sin Aisles

Afrodita Nikolova – A Leftist Union of Dolls in the System of Paediatric Anatomy

Ruth Blang – A Mood

Terence Brick – Gollard

Gregory Byrne – Croan

Catherine Edmunds – A Man Goes Out

Pru Kitching – Franz Kafka in Durham City

Ruth Smith – In Passing

Theophilus Kwek – All Souls

The Winning Poem:-

Isola Bella

by Gillian Henchley

Mistletoe.  Each table has a spray
of holly amid the perfect spaced array:

Venetian tumblers, green and red
partnered with the slender reeds

of thin spun goblets, folded napkins
shaped like swans, cutlery in silver lines.

The voices tune to his respectful calm
measuring the menu, solemn as a psalm.

No fluster when the uninitiated fail,
prefer poussin to his corn-fed quail.

There is swing in this balletic mime
the kitchen corps, the steady rhyme

of plates processing garlanded with jus
in complementary tastes and hues.

He signals to the players on his stage
allowing each a starring role, a phase

of prominence, savours all he loves
before slow folding into coats and gloves.

The robes of white go in the laundry bin,
the floors are swept, tables set, nothing

left undone: outside bruising ice
street rubbish, squalls, north wind bite.

No use to linger, one key clicks, the other
opens to an island world, moist smother

of blankets, a spread of pills like shot,
each colour in its pot, Bella’s  cough

catching at the air, drag of hair tangled
on the pillow’s sweat, food barely touched.

What makeshift care, while he is out –
a mess of lipsticked stains rim that cup,

staleness curling sly round kitchen corners,
a smear of ash unwiped upon the drainer.

He watches frowns chase across her face
imagines endings for this year, this place,

picks up a cushion turns down the light
and silently begins to set the room to right.

Competition News:

There’s a chance to have your poetry published in a 20-page paperback while also supporting the homeless, with the added benefit of being selected by this year’s prestigious judge, George Szirtes. The Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition is unusual as the entry fee per poem is just £2.50 to make it possible for everybody to have a try. The winner will also be selected on the basis of just one prizewinning poem (maximum length 40 lines), so you don’t have to submit the whole chapbook for a chance of being published. If you want to submit more poems there are discounts, with 6 poems costing just £10.

The winner will receive 50 copies of their chapbook to keep, sell, or give to friends. They will also be invited to read at the regular Lumen and Camden venues, if they can make it and would like to, and their chapbooks will also be offered for sale online and at the twice-monthly events. All money raised from chapbook sales by the publishers and by the Camden and Lumen project will go to the Cold Weather Shelters.

The closing date each year is February 14th, but it’s never too soon to enter. The chapbook will be published by Ward Wood Publishing.

You can enter by post by sending your poems and a cheque (made payable to ‘Caris Camden’) to Ruth O’Callaghan, or you can send the poems by post and pay by Paypal if you prefer. For international and other entries it’s possible to enter by using Paypal and then either posting the poems or sending them in an email. Regulars at the Camden and Lumen open mic events can hand their entry to Ruth, who will pass them on to George Szirtes. There is no need for an application form as you can put the titles of the poems plus your name, address and contact details on a separate sheet of paper.

For postal entries the address is: Ruth O’Callaghan, 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake London, SW14 8HF.

To enter online, to get the Paypal link, and for full details and rules, go to the competition page on http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk

Do join in and also post details about this competition on your own blogs and websites as the competition is likely to raise a substantial amount to help the homeless while also giving a poet a highly desirable prize.

In his first year as patron of the Lumen and Camden Poetry Series and as judge of the annual competition, Andrew Motion has chosen a stunning poem called Camera Obscura by John Foggin as the winner. John Foggin’s prize will include having a chapbook released by Ward Wood Publishing in November this year, and he will work with editor Adele Ward in the coming months to select and work on the poems for his collection. He will also receive 50 copies and will have a launch reading in the Camden venue.

 

The results are:

 

1st Place:

John Foggin – Camera Obscura

 

Highly Commended:

Cara Jessop – Old Adam’s Likeness

Mark Leech – Leaf Lessons

Richard Westcott – Corporal Yukio

Joan Michelson – Vision

Gillian Henchley – Half Siblings Discovered

Cameron Hawke Smith – Walking to Addenbrooke’s

Roger Caldwell – Defence of Essex

Lorna Liffen – If the Fifth Born

Chris Duggen – A Place to Leave My Shadow

 

The Winning Poem:-

 

Camera obscura              

(Emily Wilding Davison. June 1913)

 

By John Foggin

 

The reason for your being here

is out of sight. They can’t be seen –

your Cause’s colours sewn inside

your decent coat: white, violet, green.

 

The camera sees the moment

you began to die:

the jockey, trim in silks, is doll-like

on the grass and seems asleep;

his mount is spraddled on its back;

its useless hooves flail at the sky.

 

Your spinning, flower-trimmed hat

is stopped, distinct, mid-flight;

your hair’s still not come down;

you’re frozen, inches from the ground;

your boots are neatly buttoned,

take small steps on the arrested air.

 

You’re stopped in time. No sound,

no texture, no sour odour

of bruised grass and earth. Just

silence and the alchemy of light.

How did you comprehend

the shock of heat, huge muscle, hair,

in that white moment

when the dark came down?

 

The camera cannot tell;

it’s business neither truth nor lies.

It shows a fallen horse. A woman falling. A crowd

in hats and blazers staring down a long perspective;

the field intent upon the distant fairy icing

grandstand. The waving flags. The finish line.

 

Until the image blurs, dissolves in silver flowers,

it’s there on celluloid in shades of grey;

the camera only says that in that instant

you are dying, and everyone has looked away.

 

This year’s competition proved itself truly international with American poet and novelist Patricia Averbach taking first prize. As winner she will have a chapbook released by Ward Wood Publishing in November this year, will work with an editor in the coming months and will receive 50 copies and a launch reading in the Camden venue. She’s looking forward to visiting London for the reading.

This has been quite a year for Patricia Averbach, whose debut novel Painting Bridges has also been published this spring by American publisher Bottom Dog Press. The competition attracts about 1,000 poems, and her poem ‘Smoke Rings’ caught the eye of our judge Anne Stevenson.

The results are:

1st Place:

Patricia Averbach – Smoke Rings

Highly Commended:

Ann Pilling – American Trucks

Brian Algar – Oysters’ Revenge

C. Gillet – Lines

Commended:-

Gillian Henchley – The Changing Tide

Jane Blank – Rape 1725

Ann Pilling – Half Term

Zoe Mulcare – Cray Fishing

Wilma Kenny – Son

Jennifer Farley – Willow Pattern

 

The Winning Poem:-

 

Smoke Rings

Patricia Averbach

 

Aunt Bessie ladled chicken broth and noodles

into bowls rimmed with fading flowers.

 

Auntie Anna hid in the pantry

stuffing cookies into the pockets of her good wool coat.

 

Carl chattered about the drug store,

the soda fountain, the price of hired help.

 

Ruth told the story about her trip to Columbus

and how there was a man

 

who signed the papers on condition

that she meet him in his room at five o’clock.

 

“He’s probably still waiting.”

That was her favorite part.  Ben and Maish were dead,

 

but Rae’s appetite was good.  She dug into the tsimmis

excavating bits of beef with red enamel nails.

 

Eddy Boy folded and refolded his napkin,

each crease crisper and thinner

 

the edges never quite perfectly matched.

Someone tried to tease Heart and Soul

 

from the ancient spinet, but it only coughed

an inaudible plink of camphor and dust.

 

Uncle Phil leaned back, inhaled a Lucky Strike,

then exhaled a frosty morning

 

outside his childhood home in Philadelphia.

The clouds hung so low he could almost touch them.

 

Ruth O’Callaghan, founder of the Lumen and Camden Poetry Series, has a new collection and sends us this message, with an invitation to come to the launch.

Dear Poets,

My latest (4th) collection The Silence Unheard (Shoestring) will be published in April. If you would like a publisher’s invitation to the launch please send me contact details.

For those who wish to purchase a copy there is a pre-order/pre-pay offer of £7.50 (instead of £9) per copy if you collect it from one of the venues or at the launch. A further reduction to £7 per copy is available on purchase of 3 or more copies. (An excellent present!) If you wish it to be posted please add £1 per copy.

Please make out the cheque to

Caris Camden

and send it to

Ruth O’Callaghan
49 Ripley Gardens
Mortlake
London SW14 8HF

Many thanks

Ruth

P.S. Caris Camden isn’t my pen name but the funding account for the Cold Weather Shelter for the Homeless.

Andrew Motion has generously agreed to be patron of the Lumen and Camden Poetry Series in aid of the homeless. When asked if he would like take on this role he replied: ‘I’m honoured and I’d be delighted.’ Despite his heavy work schedule he has also said he will judge the International Lumen and Camden Poetry Competition. The current competition is being judged by the acclaimed American poet Anne Stevenson, who has chaired the T S Eliot prize.

The contest will close on February 14th, when a winner will be chosen to have their short collection published by Ward Wood.

The Lumen and Camden Poetry series supports three cold weather shelters in the Camden and Kings Cross areas of London. By lending his support to this project, Andrew Motion will help attract audience to the twice monthly events that raise funds. The series supports poetry by providing a venue for publishers to present their poets, and it also helps new poets by inviting them to read at open mic at each event. Poems read at open mic can be submitted to be considered for the annual anthology, where famous poets donate poems and appear alongside the regulars who read from the audience. Every penny raised goes directly to the cold weather shelters where the events are held.

The cold weather is with us so do help support the three cold weather shelters assisted by the Lumen and Camden poetry project by coming to the events or entering the contest. You could also win publication of your own short collection. There’s less than a month to go until the closing date of February 14th, but the sooner you enter, the sooner the organisers can pass all money raised to the cold weather shelters.

Previous winners are Bob Cooper (2012) and Caroline Squire (2011), and their short collections An Apple Tree Spouts Philosophy and The Ideal Overcoat are on sale, with all £3 of the cover price going to the same charity. Nobody involved in organising this competition takes any income from it. The winner is chosen on the strength of just one poem, and as part of the prize they will be helped by a professional editor to complete a short paperback collection with 20 pages of poetry. They will also get an invitation to read in one of the popular Lumen and Camden venues, will receive 50 copies of their collection, and will be well promoted.

The entry fee has been kept deliberately low at £2.50 per poem (up to 40 lines) or £10 for six poems, so that everybody can enter. In its first two years the competition attracted around 1,000 entries each time, raising between £1,500 and £2,000 for the charity.

These poetry events raise thousands of pounds each year, and every year the organisers try to increase their support. The cold weather shelter managers say they couldn’t survive without the contribution made by poetry. The events and the competition are the brainchild of the poet Ruth O’Callaghan, who has been running the Lumen and Camden Poetry series of open mics and performances for six years.

The open mic events are held in the two venues where the homeless sleep in the cold weather shelters. They are at 1 Buck Street, Camden, and 88 Tavistock Place, Kings Cross, plus another shelter. A listing of events and information about the Lumen and Camden Poetry project is on http://www.camdenlumen.wordpress.com

Details:

INTERNATIONAL LUMEN/CAMDEN POETRY COMPETITION

Judge: Anne Stevenson
Prize: Publication of short collection for one winner, 50 free copies, launch event and promotion.
Closing date February 14th 2013.
Poems up to 40 lines. Proceeds go to three London Homeless Cold Weather Shelters.
Entry fee: £2.50 per poem, 6 for £10.
Details on http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk competition page.

By Ruth O’Callaghan, Camden and Lumen Poetry Series Founder

Anne Stevenson who was Chair of the Judges for the TS.Eliot Prize – one of our most prestigious poetry prizes – has kindly agreed to judge the Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition. This is a unique opportunity to win 50 copies of a perfect bound small collection of your poems, the winner being selected by a poet who has adjudicated over our most famous poets.

Details: Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition. Closing date 14 February 2013. Judge: Anne Stevenson.1 poem £2.50 or 6 poems £10. Cheques made out to Cold Weather Shelter and send to 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake, London SW14 8HF. No entry form necessary but put your name and contact details with the titles of your poems on a separate sheet. To enter online by email look at the Competitions page on wardwoodpublishing.co.uk

All proceeds go to the homeless in the Cold Weather Shelters this project supports. No commission is taken by the organisers, the judge, or the publishers.

Congratulations to Bob Cooper who has won the 2012 Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition with his poem ‘Mr And Mrs Anwar And The Utter Significance Of Beds’. We always have around 1,000 poems entered so big congratulations to Bob for being the one chosen by the judge Carol Ann Duffy. The competition raises vital funds for the two Cold Weather Shelters supported by this poetry project.

Bob is now working with Ward Wood Publishing towards completing his short collection which will be launched in the autumn. There will be a prizewinner’s reading from the collection at the Camden and Lumen venues later this year. Proceeds from sales of the pamphlet also go to support the Cold Weather Shelters, and you can pre-order from the Ward Wood Publishing website or from the regular Camden and Lumen open mics.

Here are the full results and the winning poem:

Highly Commended

Peter Kennedy – ‘Three Skeins’
Roger Elkin – ‘Paeony’

Commended

Gillian Henchley – ‘Love Bites’
Roger Elkin – ‘The Other’
Zelda Chappel – ‘Open’
Eleanor Vale – ‘Know That I Loved Her’
C. Gillet – ‘Another Life’
Ray Liversidge – ‘The Lake’
Crysse Morrison – ‘Previously Loved’

First Prize:

Mr And Mrs Anwar And The Utter Significance Of Beds

by Bob Cooper

This bed you’re on will glide through ward doors
enter a lift before we pass exit signs to trundle down ramps
that will lead us past the empty car park onto streets
where, pushing you gently downhill, waiting at lights,
selecting lanes at roundabouts, we’ll soon be home.
There, in arms that will never be as strong as then,
I will cradle you, carry you upstairs with the warmth
I still feel shared between our hands. And I will lay you
where we both wished you to be, your head turned on the pillow
next to where mine, too, rested for all the hours we slept
because that is where I want to find out I realise
you are not here, nor there, but somewhere you belong.

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