2012 Stanza Poetry Competition




Angela Stoner - 2012 Stanza Competition winner 'Stone written' by Angela Stoner 


Sudeep Sen - 2012 Stanza Competition - Joint Runner Up'Banyan Stripes' by Sudeep Sen Julie Corbett - 2012 Stanza Competition Joint Runner-Up'Sky' by Julie Corbett

Congratulations to this year's winner, Angela Stoner (Penzance), and the joint runners-up: Sudeep Sen (India) and Julie Corbett (York).

This is the sixth year of the competition, open exclusively to Poetry Society members who are also members of a Stanza. The theme of this year's competition was 'Stripes' and the poems were judged (anonymously) by John Siddique www.johnsiddique.co.uk. In total, 152 poems were received from 115 poets. Previous winners are Julia Webb, Emma Danes, Richard Goodson, Julie Lumsden and Michael Swan.

In addition to the top three, John Siddique chose ten commended poems: 'There is beauty in stripes' by Alison Riley (Derbyshire), 'Salt' by Conor Beales (Norwich), 'Background effect' by D.A. Prince (South Leicestershire), 'Lines as the sun rises above the pine copse' by Gwyneth Box (Spain), 'In tune' by Helen Overell (Mole Valley Surrey), 'Bee Mornings' by Julia Webb (Norwich), 'Handmade in Guangzhou' by Robin Houghton (Brighton), 'Fine dark stripe' by Rosemary Norman (Twickenham), 'Tiger' by Tess Jolly (Brighton), and 'Horizons' by Tom Cunliffe (Brighton). Read the commended poems

THE WINNING POEM: 'Stone written' by Angela Stoner

Not a calm or a cool stone
It still carries the charge of its birth
the fracture of every wave smash
the bruise of every pebble smash,
every power hammer of the sea
the jarring fall of every tide
the percussive battery of stone slides
as each pebble rubs its partner up the wrong way.
It carries the record of every knockout blow
etched in white hot lightning stripes.

Angela Stoner lives in Cornwall. She runs workshops which explore the therapeutic power of writing. She has two published books Once in a Blue Moon (Fal publications) and a collection of poetry Weight and Flight (Oversteps Books). She finds the support and insight of groups such as Stanza invaluable.

Angela: "The poem was inspired by a workshop led by Alyson Hallett where she gave us stones to explore. My stone seemed to speak of the fiery relentless violence of its life. Every knock seemed marked on the stone like wounds. I aimed for percussive, repetitive phrases which would echo its experience."

John Siddique: "One of the wonderful things about poetry is that it places the life of a person or object or time into the reader’s soul. Line by line poetry can paint a picture that will stay with the reader changing the way they look at the world in a small way ever after. This poem does just that."

Angela's poem will be sent to the Forward Prize judges for consideration for the Best Single Poem of the year, and Angela will be invited to read at a future Poetry Society event.

JOINT RUNNER-UP: 'Banyan Stripes' by Sudeep Sen

For Jane Draycott

As winter secrets

with the purple

what is revealed
 is electric —

notes tune
 unknown scales,

syntax alters

terracotta melts

banyan ribbons
 into armatures

as branch-roots
 twist, meeting

soil in a circle.

 under cloth


for a calligrapher’s

 in invisible ink,

letters never

 map, uncharted —

as phrases fold
 so do veils. 

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Sudeep's collections include: Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Distracted Geographies, Prayer Flag, Rain, Aria (A K Ramanujan Translation Award), Ladakh, and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor). Blue Nude: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1979-2014 (Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize) is forthcoming. Sen’s newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), and Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell). He is the editorial director of aark arts and the editor of Atlas. www.sudeepsen.net

Sudeep: “The Banyan tree in India is both sacred and unique in its architecture. The tertiary roots form many trunks circumscribing the main trunk over time, resembling a beautifully woven hive, a cave, or an inverted intricate nest. I played with the striped parallelism of the visual form, as well as with breath-pauses that subtly align the short-line couplets that form each stanza.”

John Siddique: "This poem writes itself into the reader with each of its short stanzas, revealing itself slowly with a gestalt like layering and a gentle assuredness."

JOINT RUNNER-UP: 'Sky' by Julie Corbett

From this vantage point, your habit is to be dark
with spots and sparkles of light impinging
on your nature. The colour scheme is not absolute
and depending on universal positioning,
you can dress in all the spectrum of colours. I am looking
at you with an inquiring eye. It is 3 am
and the Perseid Meteor Shower should be at its most brilliant.
The geo-stationery orbit of a satellite marks
one boundary of the active sector and stripes, the contrails
of aeroplanes provide temporary gridlines.
I prefer you Van Gogh blue but what shooting star would play
and dance against such an optimistic backdrop.
Besides wishes are harder and maybe more resilient when cast
molten from a heart into crisp night air.

Julie Corbett has been writing for around five years and her chap book On the Humber is available from www.foldedword.com. When not writing Julie can be found roaming the Yorkshire Wolds and Holderness coast. An active member of Subtle Flame and also The Hull Car Share Poets, she has read at both Beverley and Bridlington Literature Festivals and has been published by Incandescent, The Fib Review, The Right Eyed Deer and will shortly have poems in Endymion and Turbulence magazines. http://hulltransforms.blogspot.co.uk/

Julie: "I have watched out in August for the Perseids for five or six years. I deliberately avoid learning any hard facts about astronomy so that each time the expansive sky remains a place of few tangibles. The poem was a direct response to having no answers for something but wanting to find at least one. As I do not sit still when looking up for the shooting stars I found that the lines wanted to wander a bit as well. I always visualise favourite images when I am writing and blue just persists in a most optimistic fashion."

John Siddique: "The night and the sky always call us to dream, and this poem captures the intrigue of being open to what is going on around us if we choose to notice."

Sudeep and Julie win a selection of poetry books. Both poems will also be sent to the Forward Prize judges for consideration for the Best Single Poem of the year. 

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