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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.

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.

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.

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