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Sep 15, 2021

Michael Symmons Roberts to judge poetry competition

Award winning UK poet Michael Symmons Roberts is to be the judge of the 2022 Guernsey International Poetry Competition (Poems on the Move), organised in conjunction with the Guernsey Literary Festival.

The annual competition, which is launched on 15 September, is open to poets worldwide and the organisers are hoping to better last year’s competition, which had a record entry of more than 2000 poems. The 2022 competition is open to poets of all ages, whether you’ve just started out or you’re a seasoned poet. Closing date is 15 February next year.

The standard of entries in the 2021 Competition was ‘dazzlingly high’, according to judge Kate Clanchy. Other judges of the competition have included Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Ian MacMillan, Maura Dooley, Daljit Nagra and Gwyneth Lewis.

Sponsored again by Guernsey Post, the competition is divided into three classes, Open (which carries a first prize of £1000), Channel Islands (£250) and Young Poet (£250). Last year’s competition attracted an especially high number of entries in the Young Poets’ class for under-18s. 

This year’s judge, Michael Symmons Roberts, Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, has won many accolades for his poetry. He has been described as ‘a religious poet for a secular age’, and his poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

He has received major awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. And his continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas for the Royal Opera House,  Scottish Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera.
His 8th poetry collection – Ransom – was published by Cape in March 2021, and he has written two novels.

Competition filter judge is Candy Neubert, a poetry reader for the Bridport Prize. Her last two poetry collections, Channel and Island, were partly inspired by Guernsey.

The Guernsey Literary Festival has decided to put a special emphasis on attracting young local poets of secondary school age to enter the Young People (11-17) class. Letters and promotional items are going out to schools in the Bailiwick of Guernsey to coincide with the launch.  

Boley Smilie of Guernsey Post, who have sponsored this prestigious event for a number of years, says, ‘We have seen this competition grow from strength to strength, and its continuing success demonstrates the appetite there is for people to express themselves with skill in poetry. Long may it continue.’ 

The poems are limited to 14 lines, emphasising the need for their language to be succinct and clear. The winner of the 2021 Open Category, was UK poet Ros Woolner with her poem Pruning The Laurel.

Full details and entry forms are available on the website Poemsonthemove.com or on leaflets which can be found at a number of sites in the Channel Islands. Details will also be in the UK magazine Poetry Review and a number of other poetry and literary magazines and websites.

The 10th Guernsey Literary Festival takes places from 22nd – 26th June 2022. The organising committee will be offering a varied and energetic celebration of literature with something for everyone – from aspiring writers to families looking for a fun day out.

After the difficulties or the last two Covid-dominated years, plans for the 2022 Festival are already in progress to attract important writers and speakers to take part in what has become one of the premier arts events in the island’s calendar.

 

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