Poet Susannah Hart Selected UK’s Prestigious National Poetry Competition Winner

1935. Children playing cards in front yard in slum area near Union Station. Photographer: Carl Mydans / courtesy of the NY Public Library

“‘Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy was a poem that slowly got under our skin and into the bloodstream. It takes on big subjects, cunningly manipulating the impersonal and toneless phrasing of bureaucracy as the poem’s speaker tries to come to terms with evil. This daring poem, literally breath-taking in its execution, is in the form of a single sentence – so perfectly engineered the reader barely notices it. But nonetheless we feel the powerful effect, as it keeps our attention pinned to the poem’s terrible reality without release.” Maurice Riordan



Susannah Hart has been chosen as the winner of the prestigious National Poetry Competition, with her poem Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

Judges Mona Arshi, Helen Mort and Maurice Riordan selected the winning poem from 16,659 poems entered into the competition from 6,979 poets in 87 countries, including entries from every EU member state. All of the poems were read anonymously by the judges.

Told in a single long sentence that intensifies the momentum and the sense of building desperation, Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy uses the dispassionate language of bureaucracy and policy to counterbalance the cruelty and descriptions of acts of violence in the poem.

Judge Maurice Riordan said of the poem: “Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy was a poem that slowly got under our skin and into the bloodstream. It takes on big subjects, cunningly manipulating the impersonal and toneless phrasing of bureaucracy as the poem’s speaker tries to come to terms with evil. This daring poem, literally breath-taking in its execution, is in the form of a single sentence – so perfectly engineered the reader barely notices it. But nonetheless we feel the powerful effect, as it keeps our attention pinned to the poem’s terrible reality without release.”

Susannah Hart’s win follows on from her acclaimed debut collection, Out of True, which won the Live Canon First Collection Prize in 2018. Susannah’s poems have been widely published in magazines and online, including Smiths Knoll, Magma, The North, The Rialto and Poetry London.

Susannah said of the win: “It’s a mixture of disbelief and delight. I’m genuinely astonished that I’ve won. I enter the competition almost every year and have been longlisted a couple of times, but you never enter expecting to actually win. I feel very honoured to join the list of winners. For personal reasons, it’s also great to have this particular poem recognised. I’ve been a primary school governor for many years and I think this is the only poem that has arisen directly from that experience, so it feels very special to have that part of my life acknowledged. I remember telling my governor colleagues that I had written a poem about the Safeguarding policy and I think they thought I was joking.”

About the poem, Susannah said: “The poem’s original draft came quite quickly. I did in fact go for a walk after reading the policy, feeling very upset by what it contained – what it needed to contain – and I found myself thinking about ‘all the horrible things that someone somewhere is always doing to someone else’. And then when I looked at the draft of the poem I realised I could make more of the bureaucratic language that was already in there, so I looked again at the wording of the policy and lifted some more phrases from it.”

Since it began in 1978 the National Poetry Competition has been an important milestone in the careers of many of today’s leading poets, with previous winners including Helen Dunmore, Ruth Padel, Philip Gross, Carol Ann Duffy, Jo Shapcott and Tony Harrison.

Internationally praised and recognised, the National Poetry Competition continues to see an increase in entries year-on- year (2019 saw an 18 per cent increase in poems and a 17 per cent increase in entrants compared with 2018). Awarding a total of £9,400 prize money annually, the competition recognises individual poems previously unpublished, in an anonymised judging process. The judges only discover the identity of the winner after making their final decision.

Nine other winners were also named in the National Poetry Competition, including Ann Pelletier-Topping for her poem Granddaughter Moves In (Second Prize, £2,000), Natalie Linh Bolderston for Middle Name with Diacritics (Third Prize, £1,000) and seven commended poets (£200 each): Joe Dunthorne for Due to a series of ill judgements on my part; Charlotte Knight for MOONDADDY; Mark Pajak for Reset; Rosie Shepperd for Letter from Kermanshah; Louisa Adjoa Parker for Kindness; Cheryl Moskowitz for Hotel Grief; and Gerald Smith for Where Dedushka Comes From. All the winning poems will be published on The Poetry Society’s website. The top three poems are also published in the Spring 2020 issue of the leading poetry magazine, The Poetry Review.


First Prize for Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

SUSANNA HART‘s poems have been widely published in magazines and online, including Smiths Knoll, Magma, The North, The Rialto and Poetry London. She has won several prizes for her work and her debut collection Out of True won the Live Canon First Collection Prize in 2018. Susannah is on the board of Magma. She works as a freelance copywriter and is a long-serving governor at her local primary school. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.

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Poetry by Susannah Hart:


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The next National Poetry Competition opens in May. Entry forms will be available online HERE. The closing date is 31st October 2020.


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Poetry Society of America Awards Are Open for Entry Through December 23

“If you ask a twenty-one-year-old poet whose poetry he likes, he might say, unblushing, “Nobody’s,” In his youth, he has not yet understood that poets like poetry, and novelists like novels; he himself likes only the role, the thought of himself in a hat.” Annie Dillard, The Writing Life



According to The Poetry Society of America’s site: “The PSA’s Annual Awards are among the most prestigious honors available to poets. They offer emerging and established poets recognition at all stages of their careers, including our student poetry award and book awards for publishers.”

There are four categories Individual Awards, Anna Rabinowitz Prize, Student Poetry Award, and Book Awards for Publishers. Details HERE.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Prizes celebrating poets published in “The Poetry Review” and “Poetry News”; Mary Jean Chan on A Tapestry of Narratives: Conversations Through Poetry

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel



The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize Winner: Mary Jean Chan

Mary Jean Chan (b. 1990) was born and raised in Hong Kong. She is the author of A Hurry of English (ignition, 2017), a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, and Flèche (Faber, 2019 – forthcoming), her debut full-length collection, which is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She won second prize in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted in the Forward Prize Best Single Poem category twice. A Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University, she lives in London.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this thoughtful presentation, A Tapestry of Nrratives: Conversations Through Poetry, by Mary Jean Chan.

The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize Judge: Paul Farley

Paul Farley is a British poet, writer and broadcaster. He is the author of four collections of poetry. His fifth, The Mizzy, is published by Picador this autumn.

Hamish Canham Prize Winner: Carole Bromley

Carole Bromley’s pamphlets (Unscheduled Halt and Skylight) and her three books (A Guided Tour of the Ice House, The Stonegate Devil and Blast Off!) are published by Smith / Doorstop. She is currently working on a second children’s book and a pamphlet about her recent experience of brain surgery. She lives in York.

The Hamish Canham Prize

The annual prize for the best members’ poem in Poetry News was established in 2004 by Sheena and Hugh Canham, in memory of their son, Hamish Canham (1962-2003), who was a gifted child psychotherapist with a passionate interest in, and love of, poetry. Former winners include Ian Humphreys, Duncan Chambers, Robin Houghton, Suzanna Fitzpatrick, Martin Figura and Denise Bennett.

Poetry News

Poetry News, published quarterly, is the members’ newspaper of The Poetry Society. In each issue, a professional poet sets a theme of his or her choice to which Poetry Society members respond. The judge selects six poems for publication in Poetry News. These poets are then eligible to be considered for the Hamish Canham Prize, which is awarded annually and presented by the Poetry Society on behalf of the Canham family.

The Poetry Society

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote a “more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, the Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages. It publishes the magazine The Poetry Review, runs the National Poetry Competition, the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.

This post is courtesy of The Poetry Society, The Poetry News, and TED.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, reprint rights, or comissions.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Five U.S. Teens Selected to Serve as National Student Poets

Five high school students from across the country have been chosen from among thousands of award-winning poets to serve for a year as National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.


The National Student Poets Program (NSPP) is a partnership of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nearly century-old program known for its recognition and celebration of the country’s most creative teens.

Representing five geographical regions of the nation, the 2019 National Student Poets are:

  1. Christian Butterfield (Southeast), a junior at Bowling Green High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky
  2. Julie Dawkins (Southwest), a junior at Deer Creek High School in Edmond, Oklahoma
  3. Taylor Fang (West), a junior at Logan High School in Logan, Utah
  4. Salma Mohammad (Midwest), a junior at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana
  5. Alondra Uribe (Northeast), a junior at Theatre Arts Production Company School in The Bronx, New York

The National Student Poets were selected from students in grades 10-11 who submitted more than 20,000 works in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and received top honors in poetry. From this pool of National Medal recipients, 35 semi-finalists are identified as the most gifted young poets in their regions, based on their originality, technical skills, and personal voice, and were invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos to distinguished jurors for the final selection of the five National Student Poets.

The Student Poets will be appointed by the Director of IMLS, Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, on July 17, 2019 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will feature remarks by critically-acclaimed poet Joy Harjo, as well as a performance by nearly two dozen young NSPP alumni. A livestream and recording of the ceremony will be available on the IMLS website.

Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said, “IMLS congratulates these five talented students, whose works meld the arts, sciences, and humanities and highlight the many narratives and questions that help shape our lives. During their upcoming year of service as poetry ambassadors they will reach communities within shared spaces such as museums, local libraries, and schools.”

Throughout the year, the Poets will serve as literary ambassadors and will share their passion for poetry, literacy, and the literary arts with their communities and at libraries and museums throughout their regions. This will be done through service projects, workshops, and public readings. In addition, each poet will receive a $5,000 academic award.

All student submissions in consideration for the National Student Poets Program are judged by literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts based on exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise.

Regarding the Class of 2019, Christopher Wisniewski, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers commented, “The Alliance is proud to celebrate these remarkable young poets and to amplify their voices at museums, libraries and schools throughout the coming year. It has always been our mission to support the creative expression of students and provide opportunities for young artists to build on their crafts and share their talents with their communities. We are confident in these five exceptional poets’ ability to elevate the medium and engage others through poetry, and are excited to see all that they accomplish.”

The National Student Poets Program has showcased the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success for audiences across the country since its inception in 2011. The 35 National Student Poets have participated in community service projects, visiting more than one hundred cities, performing at more than eighty national poetry events, and mentoring hundreds of future poets. The Poets have traveled to libraries, museums, youth centers, reservations, and hospitals, and worked with military-connected youth, rural youth, and special-needs children. They have performed their work numerous times at Lincoln Center and the White House.

“Being able to learn from my fellow National Student Poets has given me some of the most powerful moments of my life,” said alumni Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, Class of 2018 National Student Poet. “Poetry teaches connection, and NSPP connects you with the world.”

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video of student poets.

This post is courtesy of the following organizations:

The National Student Poets Program—a collaboration of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers—strives to inspire other young people to achieve excellence in their own creative endeavors and promote the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success. The program links the National Student Poets with audiences and neighborhood resources such as museums and libraries, and other community-anchor institutions and builds upon the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ long-standing work with educators and creative teens through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. More information on the NSPP can be found at .

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Its vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization, identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Founded in 1923, the Awards program is the longest-running, most prestigious initiative of its kind, having fostered the creativity and development of millions of young people through opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. During the past six years alone, students have submitted well over a million works of art and writing, and the program has provided more than $30 million in scholarships and awards for top participants.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, reprint rights, or comissions.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton