Top 3 Winners
Congratulations to our winners. All comments below are from our judge, Pascale Petit.
“The ten shortlisted poems were wonderfully varied, but there were quite a few travel and on-the-road poems, perhaps because of our increasingly migrant populations. Mountains and nature also featured in many. It was hard to decide on the winners because the standard was high. With the top three, I took my time choosing which would be first, second, and third – all are so good in different ways.”
3rd Place: ‘The wheels of my wagon are possibly square’ by Pete Concahsmith (ENG)
“Surreal, absurd, memorable – an exuberant prose poem that presents its striking image of the extraordinary wagon – possibly an allegory for human life on earth – as it rumbles on like a kinetic exhibit in a gallery, garish, enigmatic, an impossible anomaly for our impossible times. Reading this poem was a lot of fun, and I’m guessing that the poet had fun writing their phantasmagorical tableau.”
2nd Place: ‘How to lose a whole forest’ by Jenny Pollak (AUS)
“This stunning poem culminates in an original image of the sea as a lion devouring a forest as if the forest is an antelope. We are slowly led to this denouement by eating and mouth similes, a tongue, teeth, breakfast, but eventually, the domestic scene is overwhelmed by the oceanic. I’m left wondering if this is a visceral depiction of rising sea-levels due to climate change. The lines reveal their theme slowly, beginning with the microcosm of an insect, and I like how philosophical thoughts intersperse the main process of inundation.”
1st Place: ‘Sweet Bananas’ by Maria Castro Dominguez (ESP)
“I love how this poem doesn’t tell me anything, just shows its vibrant story. There’s an erupting mountain and a couple of homes beneath it, and what might be a stand-off between humanity and the planet. Or, it’s a simple tale of how one volcano impacted two people. The tercets develop the catastrophe at a fast pace, organically, and through precise details which paint a true and real picture full of emotional impact. It lands on one last gorgeous detail, which echoes the yellow of the sweet bananas before they went black. A tragic, but deftly handled lyric, leaving me with a sense of the power of our planet and the helplessness and courage of humans, foolish contrasted with the wiser dolphins and their attuned senses. Congratulations to the poet!”
Well done to our three prizewinners. We’d also like to highly commend a poem: ‘When you feel so very small’ by Wren Siofra Lloyd.
We’ll be awarding the prizes in Valletta on 18th October, 2023, as part of our collaboration with the Malta Book Festival.
Our latest competition, The Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max), is now open for entries. Judged by Rory Waterman. 1st prize: £1,000. Deadline: 30th October 2023.