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.

 

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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.

As the weather starts to feel bitterly cold the homeless look for places to spend the night indoors, and two London cold weather shelters in the Camden and Kings Cross areas are open thanks to the support of poetry. The Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition judged by Carol Ann Duffy is now accepting entries for the second year running, raising money for the homeless while also giving a poet the chance to win publication of their own short collection.

The first year’s winner was Caroline Squire, and her short collection An Apple Tree Spouts Philosophy is now 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 to complete a short paperback collection with 20 pages of poetry.

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 year the competition attracted more than 1,000 entries, raising over £2,000 for the charity. There are also regular open mics and poetry performances in the Lumen and Camden venues where the homeless sleep during the cold weather, and where more money is raised.

This project raised approximately £4,000 last year, and every year we try to increase our support. The Cold Weather Shelter organisers 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 five years.

Although the closing date is Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to enter early so that every entry fee can be passed direct to the Cold Weather Shelters at the time of year when they need it most.

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. A listing of events and information about the Lumen and Camden Poetry project is on our Events page.

You can enter by bringing poems to these events, posting them to Ruth O’Callaghan, or entering online on the competitions page of wardwoodpublishing.co.uk where you can also find more information.

Congratulations to Caroline Squire who has won the Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition with her poem ‘An Apple Tree Spouts Philosophy in an Office Car Park’. Carol Ann Duffy picked this poem as the winner from more than 1,000 poems entered. Over £2,000 was raised for the homeless in two North London Cold Weather Shelters and this competition will run again next year.

Caroline is now working with Ward Wood towards completing her 20 page chapbook which will be launched in early autumn. There will be a prizewinner’s reading from the pamphlet at the Camden and Lumen venues. Proceeds from sales of the pamphlet also go to support the Cold Weather Shelters, and you can pre-order from the Ward Wood Website or from the regular Camden and Lumen open mics.

An Apple Tree Spouts Philosophy
in an Office Car Park

by Caroline Squire

I am not particular on the subject of being shaken
and I wouldn’t give a whit if my offspring were chosen
to be drop-kicked. Nor would I mind terribly
if my June falls were served blithely from tennis rackets

as to be used in some way would be a relief.
It’s no good when your windfalls are brushed aside
and no-one looks up to admire your full achievements,
my speckled posies of rosy Starkrimsons.

Three harvests ago two office managers, suited and giggling
like flighty scholars, threw sticks into my branches,
tickling me nearly as pink as the pockets of fruit
with which they departed,

but nothing since. No step ladders, no children with carrier
bags, no mothers with ambitions for portions of stewed apple,
just this December rash of iced droppings. But I should do well
to consider my origins. I was a lucky seed, a happily ignored

sapling left to establish in a meadow, surviving drainage
and bulldozers and the view of glass buildings, and I fancy
I shall still be here when they’ve re-located, growing my bark
around the wire fence like a grin.

2010 proved a challenging year but we still managed to raise nearly £4000 (with gift-aid) for the two Cold Weather Shelters we fund, and one of the ministers has already written to say that without the money they would be unable to continue. SO a MEGA THANKS TO YOU for your continued support. Also a very big thank you to Chris, Lynne and Adele who consistently do the bar and door. If anyone would like to volunteer to do the rare evening as ‘holiday relief’ it would be much welcomed.

Also welcome are any suggestions you might have with regard to the evenings. They are your evenings giving you the opportunity to read in front of established publishers (and wonderful, surprising things have happened) and internationally well known poets, as well as being published alongside them in an anthology. Last Christmas, when asked for suggestions, many requested that the poets from the floor had their own evenings enabling them to have a five minute – or longer – spot to offer a wider range of their work. This we did but the evenings were poorly attended so we presume that, in general, you prefer publishers and ‘name’ poets – correct me if I’m mistaken. Meanwhile, there will always be floor spots and the opportunity for longer spots but within the publishers/named poets evenings.

And we do have good relationships with publishers – congratulations to those who have done the mentoring/workshops and have subsequently have been published, and to those who will be in the 2011 Poets-from-the-Floor anthology due out in May.

We have a fabulous line up of poets for 2011 including Anne Stevenson and, fresh from the brilliant Aldeburgh Festival, Matthew Caley, Bernard Kops and Imtiaz Dharker – her Mumbai lunch box is a must. And that is just in the first few months. The second half of the year is equally exciting and there will of course be publishers’ evenings so please make the most of the opportunities offered.

In fact, the first event of 2011 – 7th January at Camden – is that dynamic new publishing house Ward Wood presenting poets Mike Horwood and Ann Alexander. Come along, meet the publishers, find out what they are about.

We are growing. We now have a competition with the winner having a pamphlet published, the glassses of wine are a tad larger and the raffle – OH, the dear old raffle – prize is increasing from £25 to over £30 worth of goodies. The free raffle evenings were much appreciated so perhaps we should have spontaneous i.e. unannounced, ones during the year. Again, if anyone has any other suggestions please let me know.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 8 new posts, not bad for the first year! There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 257kb.

The busiest day of the year was February 24th with 91 views. The most popular post that day was Events.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, poetrykit.org, stumbleupon.com, writtenword.ning.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lumen poetry, poetry pamphlet competition, camden poetry series, camden lumen, and lumen camden.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Events February 2010
4 comments

2

About Us February 2010
3 comments

3

Publications February 2010
1 comment

4

Carol Ann Duffy Judges International Poetry Pamphlet Competition in Aid of the Homeless August 2010
1 comment

5

Welcome to Camden and Lumen Poetry’s Site February 2010