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’


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 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 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,,,, and

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.


Events February 2010


About Us February 2010


Publications February 2010
1 comment


Carol Ann Duffy Judges International Poetry Pamphlet Competition in Aid of the Homeless August 2010
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Welcome to Camden and Lumen Poetry’s Site February 2010

There’s a chance to have your poetry published in a 20-page pamphlet while also supporting the homeless, with the added benefit of being selected by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. 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 pamphlet for a chance of being published. If you want to submit more poems there are discounts, with 6 poems costing just £10.

This is the first year for the Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition and it’s the initiative of poet Ruth O’Callaghan, founder and organiser of the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series. This popular project supports the homeless in the Cold Weather Shelters in the Camden and Kings Cross areas of London, and all income from the competition will go to support the same cause. None of the people involved in organising the competition will take any income from it, so it’s set to give a real boost to the amount donated by the project every year.

Poetry is really making a practical difference in helping the homeless thanks to Ruth’s tireless efforts and wonderful new initiatives. The Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition will not just benefit the people in the Cold Weather Shelters, but it will also help a poet to get their pamphlet into print. With entries invited from all over the world there will be poets of all standards joining in to help raise money for charity while competing for the prestigious prize of being selected by Carol Ann Duffy, patron of the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series.

The winner will receive 50 copies of their pamphlet 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 pamphlets will also be offered for sale online and at the twice-monthly events. All money raised from pamphlet sales by the publishers and by the Camden and Lumen project will go to the Cold Weather Shelters.

The closing date is early next year on February 14th, but it’s never too soon to enter. Entry fees received from now on will go towards helping the Cold Weather shelters as winter approaches. The pamphlet will be published by Ward Wood Publishing, and full details on how to enter are on the website

You can enter by post by sending your poems and a cheque 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 events can hand their entry to Ruth, who will pass them on to Carol Ann Duffy. Full details are on the Ward Wood website.

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.

On July 13th there’s a chance to read at open mic after three of our best-loved and strongest women poets: Elaine Feinstein, Mimi Khalvati and Fiona Sampson. The atmosphere in the room at our Lumen venue is sure to be electric, so try not to miss this one. With such a wonderful event it’s sure to bring together all the regulars plus plenty of newcomers, so the poetry will mix with a chance to socialise over wine and soft drinks with friends old and new.

If you’re new to the Camden and Lumen Poetry Series then the format is that booked poets are invited to read in the first and second half, with an interval for wine, soft drinks and chat in the middle. Poets from the floor are called up by our organiser, the poet Ruth O’Callaghan, so if you’d like to read then bring along one poem of up to 40 lines. When you come in you’ll be able to put your name on a list to be called, and if you leave a copy of the poem with your contact details it will be sent to the editor of next year’s anthology for consideration. All proceeds from entrance, drinks table, and book sales (the books have been generously donated by publishers) go to support the Cold Weather Shelters for the homeless.

What a wonderful line-up there is for this event at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, within walking distance of Russell Square, St Pancras and Euston stations.  Full details are on the Events page.

Penelope Shuttle and Fiona Sampson are two of the well-known poets supporting Seeking Refuge, the latest anthology from the Camden and Lumen Poetry project in aid of the homeless. Each year Ruth O’Callaghan organises regular open mics with all proceeds going to the Cold Weather Shelters, and readers can submit the poems they perform for inclusion in this prestigious anthology.

Jan Fortune-Wood selected the best poems from last year’s open mics and edited Seeking Refuge, which has been published by Cinnamon Press this year. The standard of the poems is high, and the collection also makes poetry accessible, so the anthology is a perfect gift as Jan indicates: ‘This is real poetry with a real purpose – accessible, entertaining, varied and able to make a difference. Seeking Refuge is both a great way to get into poetry and a fantastic way to support an essential charity housing London’s homeless.’

Seeking Refuge is already available from Inpress Books, and as all proceeds go to the Cold Weather Shelters it’s worth getting a copy and a few extra to give as gifts. The launch, on May 9th in the Lumen venue, is sure to be a vibrant and sociable event, with the selected poets reading their Seeking Refuge poem, and copies available for purchase.

Check the Events and Publications pages for full details, and a link to the book on Inpress is on the left.

If you’re a bluechrome author and would like to take part in a special reading organised by Sue Guiney then get in touch. bluechrome authors are invited to read from their books at this event, with proceeds going to support the Cold Weather Shelters.

Sue is known at the Camden and Lumen events and was in the last anthology, Genius Floored. The Camden and Lumen project also includes other bluechrome authors, so if this sounds like you then leave a comment here if you’d like to take part.

You can also ask to take part by clicking on the Facebook link to the left of this page and leave a comment there, or ask at the next Camden or Lumen event. Even if you haven’t been involved with Camden and Lumen or the Cold Weather Shelters before this could be a good time to start if you’re a bluechrome author or would like to attend the event.

This reading is likely to be quite a get-together as the bluechrome authors are a wonderful bunch and it’s a pity this publisher is no longer active. It will be a celebration of the creative talent of the authors and a time to move on to new projects.

This event could go on tour,  and if you’d like to arrange a similar one in your region let Adele Ward know so that she can help you get the word out.

The event will be in St Benet Church, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4ER on Thursday, 22 April at 6.30pm for 7.00pm. Admission will be £4 and will go to support the Cold Weather Shelters.

There’s now a Facebook group for Camden and Lumen Poetry. This has been set up in response to feedback about the website, because people said they liked to be able to keep in touch online between events. This is particularly important for participants who enjoy the project but live all over the UK and beyond, and might not be able to get to London regularly.

The Facebook group will also let other people find out about Camden and Lumen Poetry and all members will be able to invite people from their contacts list. It’s such a worthwhile project to champion poetry and to help the homeless, and this should help spread the word.

It’s also possible to leave comments on the Facebook group page, and there’s a discussion forum if you’d like to raise some topics for debate. It doesn’t all have to be serious. Just introducing yourself and putting a link to your website is a great idea. Although many people at the events know each other well, a website link helps newcomers and let’s us all pass an enjoyable time reading each other’s work.

To get to the Facebook group you can click on the link to the left of this page. Alternatively you can search for Camden and Lumen when you’re on Facebook. Let the conversations begin!