Traditional Publishing

International Poetry Competition

Fifth poetry competition winners

The Fifth International Poetry Competition closed on November 1, 2006. Deliberation over the final line-up of winners was long and hard, but by January 2007 the following successful entrants were announced:


Congratulations to Rebecca Snape of Daventry, United Kingdom, who wins £500 for her poem "Ordinary Blue".

"I'm 32 and currently a lady of leisure, well, illness but that doesn't sound as exciting. I've had ME/CFS for eighteen years, which gives me a lot of time to contemplate my navel (and other people's navels given half a chance), and write. This poem is one of the few I have written that isn't about my dreaded condition and its success will hopefully encourage me to stop whinging about it. I don't find it a particularly poetic illness anyway, so it doesn't lend itself to too much examination.

"I'm three quarters of the way through writing a novel, the first 3,000 words of which were shortlisted for the 2005 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger award. My New Year's Resolution is to complete it. One day. I am just about to start an Open University course in humanities and am looking forward to October, when it finishes; the bit in between just sounds like hard work and my brain's been out of practice lately."

Ordinary Blue

The heart catches cruelly
In this weak, febrile moment,
Hopeless and hot and too slow to save.
This is not and cannot be.
We stare unbelieving, watching the end.
The sky is still an ordinary blue
Then tipped over and come undone,
Its lining dull, blistered grey,
No metallic shimmer but for the
Tremulous light on wing-tips.

And there is no day after this,
The delicate thread of existence severed,
A new one now woven from another time,
Made of raw edges, fractured sides.

These insects, flying or falling,
Ephemeral mayflies
Dying with the light.
There is a cathedral silence,
An upward-looking awe,
Though the tiny bodies lie thickly on the ground.

US runner-up

Congratulations to Gerald Ryan, of Roselle, who wins $150 for submitting the best entry from the United States with his poem "Hourglass Flash".

I am an award winning freelance writer and have produced weekly columns for the Courier Sun and monthly columns for Windy City Sports in Chicago (, Twin City Sports in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Metro Sports in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. I have regularly contributed to the Chicago Amateur Athlete and the Liberty Suburban Chicago Newspapers. I have produced and aired weekly radio spots for WDCB-FM in Glen Ellyn, IL. I have had poetry published in The Prairie Light Review and won the Mountainland Publishing Poetry Grand Prize ( I won the Short-Short Story award in the national humour magazine, the Funny Paper.

In May 2007, I will have a short story published by St. Martins Press in the anthology, Next Stop Hollywood; Short Stories Bound for the Screen.

Hourglass Flash

Listen behind closed eyes to
hissing grains of sand tumble
through the hourglass aperture
in time driven gravity

See those sands quiver beneath
a boy’s feet that dart and dance
fearful at water’s edge. It’s
all right Mom. I’m not afraid.

Feel soft sand lust rustle
under blanket foreplay the
first time you found fumbling
love in the warm damp of night.

Pat wet sand castles at sunlit
shore with laughing children who
gave love unconditional.
Now echoing, now long gone.

Watch sand blow under door sills
of cheaply bought beach motels
where an affair’s sweating sheets
betrayed a lost love’s fidelity.

Taste sand through gritty bleeding lips
at the peaceful seashore where sought
for solace changed sudden and severe
into quick chest clutching wonder.

Only to hear hissing grains
of sand cease their so brief fall
that only moments ago
seemed ever so endless and
far away.

UK runner-up

Congratulations to Malcolm Wilson of Rickmansworth, who wins £100 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United Kingdom, "Rush Hour".

Malcolm writes because he has to. Mostly he gets paid for it but even when he is not, he does it because the words are crowded conversations in his head. He walks a lot and thinks a lot and then talks more than his walking companions can usually tolerate. Having run out of people who look even vaguely interested, he puts it onto paper. And he shows everyone. Malcolm is studying for a certificate in creative writing at Birkbeck College, London. He can be contacted at That is, if you don’t mind being talked to a lot. Malcolm's blog can be found at

Rush Hour

You choose:

you can march to your desk
with your chin on your chest
and your eyes on the street
while your arms swing in time
to the metronome beat
of a million feet.

Or stop,

look up at the ragged sky-play
of the grey-cloud children
chasing one another, all unschooled.
Turn truant, run for places where
the rain refreshes, where the grass is
greened and landscapes watercoloured.

Go home.

Special commendations

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