‘Let there be light!’

The results of the Candlestick Press micropoem competition 2015

The winning poem

Laid up, late afternoon with rain coming, books are bright stones. I turn to crime, it helps.
The vodka haiku is icy light.

Roz Goddard

Our first micropoem competition. Our first ever competition, in fact. What did I expect by way of entries? I hadn’t seriously contemplated the micropoem form until the competition was underway and the entries started to ping in via Twitter.

Then it became very clear that there would be a number of different ways of looking at the poems and how the 140 character limit affected content and message. Was a good micropoem simply a short and powerful statement, a snapshot of a moment in time? Was it a flash narrative, a capsule story told on one breath? Was it a formal exercise in judgement and restraint? Was it an origami, using punctuation to replace fold lines? I came to the not very helpful conclusion that it could be all, or indeed none, of these things, and set about really listening to the poems as I read them aloud, repeating the ones I particularly liked over and over. In the end, the decision about the winner made itself – it was the poem which told a layered, complex and subtle story in a compact burst of three sentences. Roz Goddard’s micropoem had me at ‘I turn to crime, it helps’ after likening books to ‘bright stones’. This poem hints at much, tells less, intrigues with allusion and yet gives enough sensory detail to leave you satisfied with crumbs – highly skilled storytelling. The two commended poems likewise had plenty to offer in terms of inventive use of language and form. Maria Taylor’s wonderfully descriptive poem gives us three saturated images of sun, light and sunflowers to evoke the best that autumn has to offer, the lack of punctuation creating one simple, unadorned statement that is very affecting. Matthew Paul’s poem was the shortest entry, I believe – again one simple statement linking three separate images, all laden with visual resonance as heavy as the ‘lavender / sagging with bees’. I really admired this poem for working so hard with so few words, so little embellishment. And then there were many other entries worthy of comment, so many in fact that we’ve stretched our prize pot to give an additional five runners up a mention – they’re listed below. Thank you for all your entries, and making this competition so much fun to judge. May your wicks ever be long and your flames burn bright.

Di Slaney
8th October 2015

First Prize:
Roz Goddard @rozgoddard

Maria Taylor @MariaTaylor_

Matthew Paul @MatthewPaulPoet

Plus five additional runner-up prizes of a copy of The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Seven) to:

Jeanette Burton @Nettie31
Karen Jane Cannon @KarenJaneCannon
Polly Atkin @pollyrowena
Maree Jaeger @MJPhotographer
Stephen Daniels @stephendaniels