Winners – Poetry
1st: My Boy, by Justine McGregor
2nd: They Didn’t Tell Me, by Jenny Young
3rd: Child of Woe, by Gary Kuyper
Highly Commended: The Advent, by Patricia Devenish
Judging by the entries received, there were many different interpretations of this theme,
“Write a poem in the form of a message or letter to your infant son/daughter.”
The entries varied from waiting to adopt; having to give up for adoption; and I will make a special mention here of a poem written to a kitten. I am aware that many people regard their animals as their children (I am guilty) but in the context of this competition, I was unable to judge this poem using the criteria that I was given.
The entries received were of a high standard and I was pleased to see that most writers remembered to read and obey the rules. Lately, there is a tendency to omit punctuation, which can be quite irritating as I felt that I would run out of breath if I didn’t pause. It is more effective to read a poem, letter or paragraph with pauses in the right places. Please read your work aloud and take note of where you need a comma, semi-colon; full-stop or any other punctuation.
When I judge a competition, I read through each one before I even think of a winner. The next step is to read each entry, putting them in piles of “yes” or “no”. I Immediately selected “My Boy” by Justine McGregor as the First Place winner as it gave a positive and loving message—but with lousy punctuation, which almost caused its downfall!
Second place went to a heart-rending story of loss (to adoption) “They Didn’t Tell Me” by Jenny Young. A poignant and beautiful story.
Third place was awarded to “Child of Woe” by Gary Kuyper; a tongue-in-cheek take on fatherhood, which made me laugh.
Highly Commended was awarded to “The Advent” by Patricia Devenish; this was the flip-side of “They Didn’t Tell Me” and speaks to the anxiety and joy felt by an awaited adoptive child. To read these two poems side by side was a privilege, as I understood both points of view with a sad/joy clarity.
Overall, this was not an easy subject to write about but I commend everyone who entered and hope that the individual critiques will help to ease your journeys into the world of poetry and writing. If you are not a winner to-day, remember that there is always another competition to-morrow so please keep writing and keep the ink flowing.