SECRET CHORDS: A POETRY ANTHOLOGY - AVAILABLE NOW FOR PANCREATIC CANCER UK
1st: When My Mother Says Jamaica, by Jenny Mitchell
2nd: The Window, by Kerry Darbishire
3rd: Haggerston Waste, by Hartley Lloyd Pack
Highly Commendable Entries:
We Take Our Son to University, by Beth Brooke
Nostalgia, by Vanessa Lampert
Wash Day, by Greg Smith
Sister is Still and Light, by Natalie Crick
Fledging the Rainbow, by Lynne Wycherley
Further entries will be included in our anthologies and the authors contacted shortly.
Jenny Mitchell is winner of the Aryamati Prize, the Segora Prize, a Bread and Roses Poetry Award, the Fosseway Prize; and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. Her poems have been published widely, and a debut collection, Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing) is one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales); and a Jhalak Prize #bookwelove. A forthcoming collection, Map of a Plantation (IDP), will be published in April 2021. Twitter: @jennymitchellgo
After When they say Connemara by Geraldine Clarkson
I see scrubland, a hill of gravestones
near a blighted crop that leads towards
three wooden steps of a tumbling shack.
Underneath are boxes, there to hold it up,
split at the sides, soaked through by humid storms,
the dwelling like a boat at times – three rooms adrift;
eight children reaching for a father
who longs for rum enough to call it his best friend.
When my mother washes clothes by hand,
she becomes a girl again, kneeling at a stream,
beating rags on sheen-smooth rocks,
sleeves rolled up her muscled forearms.
They turn to fat when she migrates to England.
For now, the stream rolls over them,
her mother standing close,
holding up a length of cane pulled from the fields,
to bring down on a cringing back
if suds aren’t plentiful enough. The stream calls out,
Make that girl work like a slave.
Grandmother hears so many voices bubble up.
They’re in the soil telling her to beat her girls
as she was beaten by her father for being much too dark.
He is almost white and married down –
a woman brown as a dead leaf.
That’s how he describes my great-grandmother
who’s not allowed to call him Earl but
Mister Hargreaves – headmaster with a length of cane.
He brings it down on cringing backs to teach a ragged mob;
slave masters offered discipline, each one a hero to this man
who stays out of the sun, pale skin shaded by a hat
that hides the shame of kinky hair.
His daughters call him Sir;
place coins upon his eyes to keep the corpse
from following his wife about the room. She cries
until he’s safely in a grave; then laughs.
That’s what my mother says when she talks of home.
The judges for The Folklore Prize were Piers Plowright, Sean Street and Jehane Markham.
Piers Plowright is an artist, poet, writer and radio legend - during his time as a BBC radio drama and feature maker from 1968 to 1997 he won the Prix Italia for radio documentaries three times as well as three Gold and two Silver Sony Awards and a Sony Special Award for Continual Dedication and Commitment to the Radio Industry. Since then he has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an honourary doctor at Bournemouth University.
Sean Street is a writer, poet, broadcaster, and Britain's first Professor of Radio. He retired from full-time academic life in 2011 and was awarded an Emeritus Professorship by Bournemouth University. He continues to write and broadcast. He is also a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Sean Street's latest book is The Sound of a Room: Memory and the Auditory Presence of Place. (Routledge, 2020.) Between 2017 and 2019, Palgrave Macmillan published his Sound Poetics trilogy: Sound Poetics (2017) Sound at the Edge of Perception (2018) and The Sound Inside the Silence (2019). Other prose includes The Poetry of Radio – The Colour of Sound (Routledge, 2013), followed by The Memory of Sound – Preserving the Sonic Past, also by Routledge, (2014).
Jehane Markham - Dramatist, lyricist and acclaimed poet, Jehane Markham is co-founder of Rough Wind Productions and has produced several books, CDs and tapes. She has worked in Radio, Television and Theatre. Her work for radio includes adaptations of modern classics such as The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Frost in May by Antonia White as well as original plays, Thanksgiving and More Cherry Cake. Lawrence and Frieda was an acclaimed drama documentary on the life of D.H. Lawrence.
"Jehane Markham is a true poet. Many of her poems glow like Impressionist paintings. You can taste the colours – a red cupboard hotter than love ’ the yellow dazzle of straw in a barn – glinting turquoise water and the tingle of silver."
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