Traditional Publishing

International Poetry Competition

Second poetry competition winners

The Second International Poetry Competition closed on the 1st October 2003. Deliberation over the final line-up of winners was long and hard, but by the start of 2004 the following successful entrants were announced:


Congratulations to Benjamin Jones of London, United Kingdom, who wins £200 for his poem, "Solitary Fan".

Aged 23, Benjamin Jones lives just a short walk from Karl Marx's giant head in Highgate, North London. As a recent English graduate of St Andrews University, he there benefited from both tutorials with the very encouraging Professor Douglas Dunn, and a lot of sea. He has previously had two poems printed, and in 2002 co-wrote and produced a very successful show at the Edinburgh Festival. Currently he is finishing a second attempt at a novel, (this one he might even muster the courage to wave in the direction of a kindly publisher), and trying not to think about how he'll pay next month's rent.

Solitary Fan

I lie, me-shaped, amidst the bits and
pieces – the corpse-heaps of clothes
and plague-mounds of plates – legs
tickled by the lying wind.

Its sad repetition seems the only movement now.

Just the same yawn of old air
as it drools through and through,
and I, with nothing to do,
contemplate nothing but the fan:

the plastic-bone blades dulled
by their own whir and blur.
It breathes back only breath made
through teeth needing brushed.

Fan, you buzz like a person did once.

US runner-up

Congratulations to Kimberly L. Northrop, of Florida, United States, for entering the best entry from the United States with her poem, "MANNAZ".

Primarily a painter, Kim Northrop's tiny, mixed-media works, each of which includes text and a vaguely related image, are wry commentaries on contemporary life. Her standalone poetry shares this same interest in both observation and the process of becoming human, as well as how one paints with words on a page. She’s been published by in Beyond Paradise, Buckle& and has won the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship among other awards. She finished her first full-length manuscript in 2003. She has a website at


I work the garden in my head
taste rich tomato
before frost has fled before the spring.

I have a friend who dreams
of shadows in water. Sunlight casts reflections
but it's not the same. He sweats and wakes gasping
unable to remember
what he needs to forget.

I use my bat powers to fling the words out
waiting for the truth to bounce back
off the faces I meet.
I'm a little lonely, here, sometimes, now.

Mockingbirds favor the beauty-berry
over the bird pepper. But only when
tree bones are exposed and the fruit falls
in upon itself. All through summer they wait
for the lush fruit to be

I pick at scabs
anxious to get to
the fresh skin

UK runner-up

Congratulations to Thomas Graham of Glasgow, for entering the best runner-up poem from the United Kingdom: "The Neighbours".

The Neighbours

They leave in the morning,
their passage marked
by 2 inch stilettos, size 8 docs
and the preternatural hover
of fluorescent running shoes that never run.

I hear them, but never see.
Their existence marked by signs
they passed but never lingered

on the concrete steps
a brush, a mop
remove the trace of you
but not the heady, life-given scent
of burnt toast, Chanel, office cigarettes.

Special commendations

Twenty special commendations go out to the following entrants (in alphabetical order):