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Learning at Black Country Living Museum

Annual Prize Poetry Competition 2016


"Northfield Road, Netherton"

The Museum is delighted to announce the winners of our 4th Annual Poetry Competition 

This competition was on the theme of "Earth and Air".

"A parcel of poems is always exciting and the bundle I received from the Black Country Living Museum this October was no exception. There were poems which told rich stories, poems filled with dialect and wonderful old words, poems which spoke of the region and far beyond. The theme of this year's competition was 'Earth and Air'. Many poems drew on the Black Country's industrial past and landscape for their inspiration while others explored 'Earth and Air' in more abstract ways. There were many well written poems which any reader would be pleased to see or hear. However, we were looking for something more, something magical or surprising, something well crafted and affecting too. Dave and I had chosen our favourites from the pile and it was interesting to see how many poems had shone out for both of us, the poems we wanted to keep re-reading. There was a little shiver of excitement in the room when we discussed them. So here they are..."

(Judge: Black Country poet Liz Berry)



First Prize:  Angela Readman, from Newcastle Upon Tyne with "So Many Names for Apples"

   "This poem is a beauty. It's very well crafted, full of gorgeous lyrical imagery and tells a beguiling story of undeclared love and moments of enchantment within the ordinary. It has a wonderful sense of unfulfilled longing and melancholy too, adding bite and substance to its sweetness. From its delicious opening line to that last lovely image, it held us in its spell. " (Liz Berry)

Second Prize: Wendy Pratt, from North Yorkshire with "The Sound of Geese"

"A taut, beautiful poem of take off and flight which lifts far beyond its very ordinary title. The geese, the "shadow-smoke sisters", are described in vivid muscular detail and we can see, hear and feel their soar over the Autumn industrial landscape. A gem." (Liz Berry) 

Third Prize:  Sarah Wimbush, from Leeds with "Pitched early mornin' at encampment o' Gypsy King Esau Smith"

"This poem uses some rich and delectable language - a mix of Romany and Black Country, perhaps inspired by David Morley's remarkable Romany poems. This is a fine piece of storytelling poetry, weaving language, regional history and lush imagery to create its magical world." (Liz Berry)

Highly  Commended:  John Whitworth from Canterbury with "Earth and Air"

"An unusual and compelling poem. All at once a prayer, a spell and an incantation. We loved the fascinating mix of worlds and deities it calls upon and the passion of its chorus." (Liz Berry)

Commended:  John Gallas from  Leicestershire with "Chaplin film show at Cinder Hill"

"We so enjoyed the voice in this poem - an Irish Black Country voice perhaps - and the intriguing story it tells with its almost eerie refrain. And was there ever a lovelier place name for such a poem than 'Cinder Hill'? "  (Liz Berry)

Commended:  Mark Rowan from Durham with "Coal-talk: Cannock"

 "We really admired the premise of this poem and the way it imaginatively draws upon the region's industrial heritage and history of tough work and tough words. Great stuff."  (Liz Berry)


 Annual Poetry Competition 2014

This competition was on the theme of "Conflict and Contemplation".  The winners were as follows:

  • First Prize: Mrs Gaynor Beesley, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire with "The Taste of War"
  • Second Prize:  Mrs Amanda Quinn from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with "Cast Away"
  • Joint Third Prize: 

         Mrs Carole Bromley from York with "The Newly-weds"

         Mr Mike Lee from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with "Summer Bomber-Watching"

  • Highly Commended:

          Mr Stephen Clarke from Stourbridge with "Walt"

           Mr Andy Hickmott from Manchester with "Heaton Park" 

 Annual Poetry Competition 2013

This competition was on the theme of industrial landscape.

The winner was Roz Goddard from Cradley Heath with  “The Break-In”.

Roz co-ordinates the West Midlands Readers’ Network and works extensively as a writer in educational settings. Her poetry is on permanent display in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and she was recently awarded an Arts Council writer’s bursary to work on her next collection of poems. She sits on the Board of Writing West Midlands.

The quality of entries was so high that we chose three Runners-up 

Julian Sutton from Devon with his poem “Black Country Night”

Louise Wilford from Barnsley with “Clee” 

Pippa Little from Northumberland with “Cobbles”.

All four poems feature in a Poetry Anthology on sale in the Museum's shop.

Did you know?

interesting fact image

There were once over forty mine shafts dotted around the Museum site.

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