Traditional Publishing

International Poetry Competition

Eighth poetry competition winners

The Eighth International Poetry Competition closed on November 1, 2009. Deliberation over the final line-up of winners was long and hard, but by January 2010 the following successful entrants were announced:


Congratulations to Jessica Prather of Hilliard, Ohio, who wins £500 (around $750) for her poem "I See Sound".

"I grew up on the yellow grasses of a southern Arizona ranch, riding horses and trying to catch tadpoles and jack rabbits. I had a column in 8th grade for my town, and was published in New Moon magazine soon after.

Soon after that, I moved up to the city for high school and writing became a coping tool as well as something that inspired my family through tough times.

Now as a sophomore in college and awaiting entry to the school of journalism, I am on crew team (rowing) and editing my first book. I live with my mom and kid brother in Ohio now, but I can't wait to start a career travelling, writing and living. I'm saving up for my first trip to Peru to hike machu picchu with a friend and hope to one day write for National Geographic."

I See Sound

Smell like dripping water
Sound like growing light
All through the evening the shadows lean out
Like maturing children
Hollow cheeked and full boned.
In the twilight
I listen to the strings as they bounce against the dry woods
The spines of the trees bend and twist with age
Trying to dance with the wind as their men
The willows the women
The smoke from the chimney looks like mother’s spilled powder
And pools into the silver sky like blood under thin skin
Spreading softly with the sound of the evening.
The blue makes me hug my arms against my ribs
I close my eyes
I count to ten
When I open them
There’s another song to see again

UK runner-up


Congratulations to Paul Wheatley, of Worcester, who wins £100 for submitting the best entry from the United Kingdom with the poem "She was my sister".

She was my sister

There was something about the smell
that drew my father and me from the orchard
before a mulled sun drove the light down.
He was a man to labour and wrench the root,
immense arms working the frozen earth:
he broke the shining surface.

But those were the days before,
days we would return to mother
sewing near the spitting fire, and to my sister,

who kept her secret, moved silent lips
as that poor country quack delved to uncoil her.
Though she remained unstrung and fractious

and squealed in the darkness like a cat.
She was riddled with it all.
As was my father, wailing in the orchard,

returning with that prosthetic body in his arms,
an up-tipped basket on the soft undergrowth,
firm fruit rolling over the grass, over the lip

of the lake; and he on his knees clutching
the sapped body, the torn dress and stiff digits, a twist
of blood over the maxilla.

And young me, stupefied by the profound forest,
falling again at my father’s feet.

US runner-up

Congratulations to Tori Grant Welhouse of Green Bay, Wisonsin, who wins $150 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United States, "Frogs Singing".

Tori Grant Welhouse lives in rural Wisconsin, overlooking a small, still pond. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in London. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Children, Churches and Daddies, Literary Mama and The Greensboro Review. She is currently at work on a collection of poetry.

Frogs Singing

Out the window is a wet world.
Let’s assume open.
Her face is damp.
Moistness gets everywhere.
Steam rises over the pond.
He breathes heavy.
Is it wind stirring?
Is it feet?

Rubbing is cellular.
The sheet is full of tiny holes.
She sighs through all of them.
He can smell her concentration.

Water is what she thinks of.
How round her bones are!
Waves lap what is deep.
He slopes to her underbelly.

Night stretches amphibian.
There’s singing in the stones.
Frogs fill their vocal pouches,
thrubbing their love purses.

Special commendations

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