From 500+ fantastic entries, we have whittled down to 13 spectacular poems. Today we are honoured announce the shortlist for the inaugural Wales Poetry Award, hosted by Poetry Wales, sponsored by the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, and judged by Katherine Stansfield. Download our PDF to read the poems.
The Shortlist (in alphabetical order of poet):
‘Things That Are Green’ by Elena Croitoru
Elena Croitoru has an MSt in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Her work has been selected for the Best New British & Irish Poets 2019 and has been shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Bridport Prize, Bath Flash Fiction Award and other prizes. She won second place in the Bart Wolffe award & third place in the Open House poetry competition. You can find her on Twitter: @elenacroitoru
‘Aberfan 9.10am 21/10/1966’ by Philippa Davies
Philippa Davies is a writer and psychologist. She lives in West Wales, where with two poet friends she co-hosts the Poetry Pause podcast. Last year, she co-produced 12 video poems for the Women of West Wales project for Narberth Museum and Llangwmlitfest, workshopping in The Cottage Inn, her local. This year, Poetry Pause will workshop at Llandeilo Litfest: @poetry_pause.
‘Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica)’ by Katie Gramich
Katie Gramich is a retired academic now finding her lost voice as a poet and translator. She was brought up on a smallholding in Ceredigion and now lives in the Heath in Cardiff. Welsh is her first language and she is addicted to learning as many other languages as possible. She likes trees, wild animals, coffee, baking, and, above all, her stunning new granddaughter, Angharad.
‘In Search of John Clare’s Nightingales’ by Jan Harris
Jan Harris’s poems have appeared in various literary journals including Acumen, Envoi, Snakeskin, and The French Literary Review, and in several anthologies, including For the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing). Her first collection, Mute Swans on the Cam, is due for publication in summer 2020. Jan lives in Nottinghamshire.
‘Secrets’ by Robert Havard
Born Treherbert, Rhondda, 1944, Robert Havard (BA, Ph.D., Cardiff) was professor of Spanish at Aberystwyth University. He lectured also at UCLA, Auckland. Bristol and Cardiff universities, his research focusing on Spanish poetry and art. He has published two collections of poetry, Look up without Laughing (Gomer, 1998) and Ball on a River (2015), the latter consisting of 38 pairs of poems/paintings on facing pages, an interactive format he likes to use in readings and painting shows.
‘Wanderer near the margins of his known land’ by Les Jones
Born and brought up in North Wales; educated locally, and later in Cardiff and York. Worked in colleges and universities in England. Has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and commended in the Troubadour prize. Returns to his cynefin when he can, where he speaks a Welsh of modest vocabulary with creative errors.
‘The Colour of Rust’ by Omar Majeed
Omar Majeed was born in Crewe, and grew up in Herefordshire. He attended St Thomas Cantilupe primary and Hereford Cathedral Secondary where his interest in poetry grew. He won the Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2002 and smaller prizes since then as has released poetry and fiction through his own imprint Desk Publishing. Omar studied Graphic design in Kingston, graduating in 2010 and later undertook a masters in fine art at HCA. Omar is a member of Market Art Studios where he paints intuitively in the liminal boundary between abstraction and figuration.
‘Mrs Savage’ by Jan Norton
I am Welsh, born and raised in a Valleys industrial town, and now living in the Midlands in a former mining community. I spent my working life teaching others to write and to appreciate good writing; it was only when I took early retirement that I started writing in earnest. Thus far, the inspiration for my writing has been the hills and valleys of South Wales and the broader family of people I grew up with. My poems often draw on those landscapes and people, but also come out of visual forms.
‘Preservation’ also by Jan Norton
‘Mnemosyne Leaves the Rhondda’ by Elizabeth Porter
Born and brought up in Hereford, Elizabeth Porter lived in the North-East of England and in Tanzania before eventually settling in Cardiff. She works as a tutor for Cardiff council’s disability inclusion team, teaching community classes for adults throughout the city. Her novel Stranger, Visitor, Foreigner, Guest was published by Cinnamon Press in 2015.
‘Y Cwrwgl/The Coracle’ by Thomasson Taylor
Cheshire boy, London graduate and proud dad, Thomasson has enjoyed a long career as a copywriter in the UK, Saudi Arabia and, currently, Qatar. Turning to poetry more seriously in his mid-fifties, he has been published in PN Review. Thomasson lives in Doha with his wife, youngest daughters and an addiction to overpriced coffee.
‘TOWARDS A BUCOLICS OF CONTACTLESS: a particular poem’ by Leo Temple
Leo Temple writes poems and essays, often loosely interested in the relation between technology and agency. In recent years, his poems have appeared in the Oxonian Review, Iris III (Hurst Street Press) and the New River Press Yearbook. They have also been adapted to form part of an exhibition on toxic masculinity (Brainstorm, 2017). He lives in London.
‘Refugee Piece … Existential Jigsaw’ by Giles L. Turnbull
Giles L. Turnbull is a blind poet living in south Wales. His poems and articles have appeared in Algebra of Owls, Poetry Wales and Acumen, amongst others, and in anthologies by Disability Arts Cymru, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and Nine Arches Press. He was shortlisted in the Live Canon International Poetry Competition in 2016 and the Bridport Prize in 2017. His debut pamphlet, Dressing Up, is published by Cinnamon Press.
The shortlist comprises 10 highly commended prize winners and 3 award winners. The three award winners will be announced live by our judge Katherine Stansfield at the Wales Poetry Award Prizegiving Ceremony at Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival on Saturday 15th February 2020 at 7.30pm. All shortlisted poets will have the opportunity to read their winning poem on the night. Tickets to attend the prizegiving are free for Poetry Wales magazine subscribers and £5/£3 concessions for non-subscribers. We hope you will join us to celebrate the winners of our very first Wales Poetry Award.