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Jun 19, 2018

Reading of winning poets’ work

Left to right are Peter Wallis (Open 3rd prize), judge Daljit Nagra, Josh Ekroy (Open 1st prize), Heidi Soulsby (representing her son Alex, who won the Channel Island section) and Boley Smillie, the Chief Executive Officer of sponsors Guernsey Post.
Left to right are Peter Wallis (Open 3rd prize), judge Daljit Nagra, Josh Ekroy (Open 1st prize), Heidi Soulsby (representing her son Alex, who won the Channel Island section) and Boley Smillie, the Chief Executive Officer of sponsors Guernsey Post. Picture: Carl Symes

A poem  by London writer Josh Ekroy about post traumatic stress disorder scooped the £1000 first prize in the open section of the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, organized as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival.

Josh was one of the poets who were presented with their prizes and read their work at a special event held during the Festival.

Poetry judge Daljit Nagra, one of Britain’s foremost poets, said that the winning poem ‘was a deeply disturbing poem that brought home to me the impact of PTSD; a succession of reframed images show authoritatively the horrors of trauma being re-enacted’.

Josh said:

I've written a lot of poetry about Iraq and I was struck by the statistic that more combatants from the US died as a result of suicide than in the conflict itself.

Josh Ekroy’s poem was one of a record number of 1280 poems entered in the competition, which is split into three sections, Open, Channel Islands and Young People, and entrants came from 30 countries, as far afield as New Zealand, Malaysia and Botswana as well as from all over Europe and North America.

The competition, in which the winners are displayed as part of Poems on the Move on Guernsey buses and at the airport, is sponsored by Guernsey Post.

Guernsey poets took the first two places in the Channel Islands category, with Alexander Soulsby winning with From a car parked at the Bay, ahead of Carol Hughes, whose poem was titled Contrary.

First place in the Young People’s Class went to Lyra Davies of Wales, with 12:04am, a figure on the pier, and second and third places went to two young poets living in New Zealand.

The winners were as follows:

Open Category

  1. PTSD, by Josh Ekroy, London.
  2. On hearing you have lost your new love, by Jonathan Edwards, Wales.
  3. Rain, by Peter Wallis, Norfolk.

Channel Islands

  1. From a car parked at the bay, by Alexander Soulsby, Guernsey
  2. Contrary, by Carol Hughes, Guernsey
  3. Where the heart is, by Sandra Noel, Jersey

Young People’s Poetry

  1. 12:04am, a figure on the pier, by Lyra Davies, Wales
  2. There are days, by Phuong Hoang, Vietnam
  3. Two drops, by E. Wen Wong, New Zealand

Daljit Nagra, who during the Festival led a poetry workshop as well as reading from his latest collection, British Museum, paid tribute to the quality of the poems submitted. ‘ I was impressed by the range of poetry that, as a whole, seemed to touch on every subject imaginable. I also appreciated the discipline of the many poets who wrote succinctly and vividly remembering that the power of poetry lies in its turn of phrase, in its lively associations between unusual things so that in a few words the reader can be held and transported at once.

I was perhaps most surprised by the Youth Category because so many young poets showed a grasp of poetic form that allowed them to explore both youthful and mature subjects with sufficient confidence to repeatedly have me gripped.

I have judged many competitions over many years, and the Guernsey International Poetry Competition was as rewarding as the best of them! It is with pride I present my winners which I hope the reader will take to heart and enjoy them as much as I did.

The winning poems can be read at www.poemsonthemove.com

 

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