Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners hosted by Joelle Taylor by Alice Drury

Out of around 1300 entries from around the world, the poems praised at this event had been carefully selected by Joelle Taylor and, along with online attendees, the winners were given the stage to share their celebratory creations. With online appearances from Clare Haywood and her “unconventional bedtime stories”, Katherine Bratt-Pfotenhauer who “interrogates the father figure”, and Jess Murrain’s emotive and lyrical poems loss, there was a buzz of literary electricity from the international writers. First place poet, Naoise Gale, displayed her “breathless” writing that “negotiates language and pushes meaning” with her poem ‘How (not) to Say Impossible Things’; the poem addressed sensitive and personal themes of mental illness, addiction, and the attitudes held by people towards those issues. Taking on the question of “what desire means and who is allowed to own that desire”, second place poet Oluwaseun Olayiwola uses “arresting” language to examine social crisis and emotional worth through his poetry. Toby Campion, having taken third place, read an emotive poem with “a deep heart, its echoing grief, and call to humanity” by using language that formed a secret method of communication between homosexual people in the 1950’s—60’s, effectively emphasising the brutal treatment of homosexuals and leaving the audience moved. Such is the power of poetry, joining hearts and minds to gather. We look forward to a continuation of this writing in the upcoming 2023 Ledbury Poetry Competition, closing deadline on Monday 10th July. To see the winner of Ledbury Poetry Competition 2020, come along to the Painting the Poet event on 6th September.

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