Monday, August 20, 2012

Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition 2012

I made it to the prize giving ceremony of this year's competition despite the best efforts of Rangers FC to stop me.    I came off the motorway to find a Rangers fan walking down the slip road towards me, the police directing traffic and a sea of other fans coming down the road and snarling up the traffic.  

This continued on the underground, where they were joined by some sort of hen/stag/birthday party/pub crawl with weird hats, and then on to Queen St. where I missed a train and the ticket machines wouldn't accept my money.  Eventually I managed to get a ticket and squeeze on to an Edinburgh train, negotiate the shambles of Edinburgh's dug-up roads and get to the Book Festival just in time to dash into the ceremony with a minute to spare. 

1st prize winner, Jen Hadfield who read her winning poem "The Kids" which, contrary to the judges' reactions to it, was apparently not meant to be 'creepy'. (Though I didn't find it particularly creepy myself, and it had some amazing images).

2nd prize winner Mike Vallely, who is not the skateboarding punk poet many of us expected him to be, gave a high-energy reading of his poem "Look Hamewards, Now".  This was the first year that poems in Scots were eligible for the competition.  

3rd prize winner Malcolm Watson read his poem "The Perils of Surgery", based on his period working as a hospital porter.

Runner-up Katherine Sowerby read her musical and mysterious "forest glass".

Daisy Behagg, also runner-up, read a number of poems with food-and-sex connections including her prizewinning poem "Peach".

David Kinloch, chairing the event.

Gillian K. Ferguson, one of this year's two judges describing the judging process in geological metaphors.

Fellow judge, Don Paterson, gives his take on the winning poems, all of which you can read here.

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