Traditional Publishing

International Poetry Competition

Eleventh poetry competition winners

The Eleventh International Poetry Competition closed on November 1, 2012 (click here to enter the current competition). Deliberation over the final line-up of winners was long and hard, but by January 2013 the following successful entrants were announced:


Congratulations to Erin Bower, from Columbia in South Carolina, who wins £500 for her poem "Deconstruction and Not So Second Chances".

Erin Bower was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where she still resides today. She fell in love with books at a young age and discovered her passion for writing shortly after she learned to read. Erin is 22 years old and currently works full time. She is very close to her family and friends and enjoys spending time with them when she isn't busy reading or writing.

Deconstruction and Not So Second Chances

Your voice winds its way through the vents,
your words leaking through my walls,
and I swear it’s the sound of time
passing through parted lips.
I sit alone in bed, knees to chest,
and swallow the lullaby of your laughter,
such a contrast from your melancholic voice
when we speak of my looming departure.

But I guess that’s the difference, isn’t it?
I will be a minor loss,
a small dent in the framework of your life,
whereas my entire collection of years
(and all that went into their construction)
will be lost to memory, a seeming
waste of energy and love.

And at this very moment,
I am losing more time,
seconds slipping by until so few remain–
until this is no longer my bed,
my collection of years,
my framework.

Each memory I’ve built seems stuck in pause:
some glitter and explode, some shrug
in the shadows, and some focus more on people
than on lighting.
But the one absolute truth about every one of them
is that no matter how perfectly
they are preserved,

I will never live them again.

UK runner-up

Congratulations to Rebecca Blease, of Nottingham, who wins £100 for submitting the best runner-up entry from the United Kingdom with the poem "Reprise".


Keeping fossils in fishbowls
The water grey, the plant unbitten
And young does sway. Our love
Retook among the decay.
A reappearance; flash of flesh
It lingers insipidly, a stagnant death.
Cavernous circuits with corners
Smooth and cleft,
Numbing our memory in bungalow
Neuroses, the polyglottal err of aerials
Retuning from the Sun’s diagnoses.
The plant regurgitates the chasm, to fill the
Bowl in full-angered bloom. Polluting
Its waters, the love-lettered sediment
Erodes in whispered chink and
Bellowed plume.
Cankered illusions cloud and smoke,
Upon embittered epiphany the preachers
Splutter and choke, incensing
Soft asphyxiation pew by pew:
The bloated gills swill and lurch, the
Absence feeds; a distorted view
Of blackening reeds. Gulping, they
Swallow and flounder in the rancid sink.
Listening with eyes in their tongues
A lucid wake, tidal wave stories
of man-made lakes. How pointless
Are many of our mistakes.

US runner-up

Congratulations to Ute Carson of Austin, Texes, who wins $150 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United States, "A Tangled Nest of Moments".

A writer from youth, German-born Ute Carson’s first story was published in 1977. Her story “The Fall” won the Grand Prize for Prose and was published in the short story and poetry anthology, A Walk Through My Garden, Outrider Press, Chicago 2007. Her novel “Colt Tailing,” was published in September 2004 and was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award Prize for the Novel. Her second novel “In Transit” was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines here and abroad. Carson’s poetry was featured on the televised Spoken Word Showcase 2009 and 2010, 2011 ChannelAustin, TX. Her poetry collection “Just a Few Feathers” was published in 2011.

An Advanced Certified Clinical Hypnotist, Ute Carson resides in Austin, TX with her husband. They have three daughters, five grandchildren, two horses and a number of cats. 

A Tangled Nest of Moments

Our memories are in the weave,
ragged bits of cloth threaded around wispy twigs,
scattered leaves and tattered down furnish the padding.
A lot of refurbishing needed after the ravages of winter,
plugging a hole here, mending unraveled bedding there.

Love is in the fabric,
when first your breath blew back my hair,
chirping baby lips were my music,
and a daughter’s tender fingers grazed my cheeks.

Near perfection is in the tending.
As the wind whistles around our little abode
we huddle feather to feather,
knotting more memories
into our tangled nest of moments.

Special commendations

Ten special commendations go out to the following entrants (in no particular order):

You can enter the current competition by clicking here