The worthy drum roll continues, as we reveal the winners in the poetry category in this year’s Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.
We hosted the awards ceremony last night at the Woodmead Halls in Lyme Regis and were delighted to be joined by a handful of the amazingly talented folks who were on our shortlist, we even had a few of the top five winners too.
21st Century Mermaid by Susan Rogerson from England
It’s always a pleasure to pen a few lines about the poem that won our judges over and bagged the top spot. Susan Rogerson nailed it this year with the 48 dynamic lines of 21st Century Mermaid. She did it with poetic flourish, laconic style and sobering precision as she waxed lyrical about the woeful state of the world’s oceans. Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history’ and I think he might agree that this high performer found the Zeitgeist bar and jumped over it. Susan met the challenge of stitching the right words together to portray this horrifying global reality with the mermaid’s watery attributes and there wasn’t a cliché in sight – I was hooked through to the final cry. Susan’s scant use of similes and metaphors accomplished their mission and I could almost see this creature making her silent statement to the world; that’s surely what every focused poet should aim for. Visually stimulating, audibly punchy and very worthy; asante sana!
Iris, the Strongest Granny in the World by Rachel Plummer from Scotland
Rachel’s highest placed entry in MOLP3’s top ten was bursting with robust internal logic and bagged her an esteemed 2nd prize and £300 along with it. I think she made a courageous decision to enter two water-based poems but as I’ve said many times, we don’t search for deliberately diverse entries. If the content is exceptional, the cream will rise to the top, and it did. Iris, the Strongest Granny in the World sounds like a precursor to a comedic ode, yet once you dive into its varied, irregular metre you find yourself enraptured by astutely concocted lines – not giggling. It was as vividly stimulating as a Roald Dahl and every bit as impossible in its absurdity, which made it a captivating pleasure to digest. This talented poet’s bravery has been suitably rewarded.
Christmas Eve by Dee Barron from England
Christmas Eve achieved the worthy position of 3rd place. Whilst Dee made good use of every available line with delicious line breaks, she made them cogitative and chose to keep their length short and sweet, with no added syrup. The brevity worked well and this impactful piece didn’t need to move beyond its simple setting of a living room. Yet her captivating words did a remarkable job of transporting me to a noisy dance hall, filled with laughter and perfume, in the same way James Cameron did during the closing scenes of Titanic. A fully engrossing poem through to the very last line and statement; great visualisation.
My Mum The Wild Indian by Lisa Reily from Australia
My Mum the Wild Indian was one of the most effective pieces at getting under my skin and carving a direct route to my tear ducts. Within 9 lines in this challenging medium, Lisa exposed the relationship between the characters so convincingly, I felt I could hear the voice of the speaker. The initial resentment from the daughter melted and morphed into the love of a mournful child with great narrative and relative ease. This highly commended piece is worthy of a couple of re-reads to digest the powerful, skilful word-play she adopted.
Silence by Carmel Summers from Australia
Silence is a deftly crafted piece with the ability to alarm and transfix the reader right through to the final full stop. The poet’s vision was well delivered on subject matter as dark as the night at new moon. Carmel’s proficient use of enjambment makes it a thoroughly compelling read. Praise came from some of my fellow judges for the non-gratuitous narrative used to describe two barbarous events. As a reader, I felt tuned into the same wavelength as the protagonist, as she came to terms with the inevitability of her terrifying situation; thunderously chilling, highly commended.
Congratulations are also in order for the talented writers who made it through to our shortlist, in alphabetical author surname order they are: Old Man in the Garden by Vinita Agrawal, Woman’s Drawer by Jan Felmingham, Angels by Harry Gallagher, Deaf River by Rachel Plummer and Castle Neroche by Anthony Watts.
If your creative juices are all fired up, you might like to note that the doors to MOLP4 will be open on 1st October 2017.
It will run through to 31st December 2017 and we will look forward to receiving your entries in short stories and poetry once more.
The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is the only writing contest where everyone wins, as we plant a tree for every single entry in our Word Forest and build classrooms in impoverished communities in Coast Province, Kenya too.
The positive impact that previous MOLPs have had, led to us starting The Word Forest Organisation, an NGO specifically founded to replicate the incredible reforestation and classroom building work we’ve done, throughout the Coast Province of Kenya.
If you’d like to support the project why not consider buying a few trees in our Word Forest, becoming a member, getting involved as a corporate partner, or simply spreading the word about it on your social media.
Time for a cup of tea I think!