Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners
Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and around the world. It is now firmly established as a premier opportunity for poets to showcase their work. The future generations who explore this growing collection will gain a vivid picture of the poetic views of our age.
Chair of the Judging Panel, Robert Seatter, says, "The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."
by Kathryn Bevis
I wrote this shortly after my diagnosis with stage four/metastatic breast cancer. Surrounded by well-meaning friends, some of whom were telling me how 'strong' and 'brave' I was being, I was often exhorted me to 'kick cancer's arse.' For me, the language of battle and war was completely alien. In response, I was able to identify with compassion towards my cancer as a creature, a living thing with whom I was cohabiting with in this body of mine.
by Ruth Jenkins
This poem documents the power and frustration of The Big One for Biodiversity, a march organised by Extinction Rebellion on 22 April 2023. It was attended by 60,000 people and so big the front and back of the march met. At that point we all lay in the road for a 'die in' to make visible the destruction we are causing, we played birdsong on our phones and through speakers it was very powerful moment. Nothing has changed despite this mass action.
The poem portrays the trauma of a violent world from birth to death. It highlights the struggle to grow up, the loss of innocence, and the futility of raising children amidst conflict. The speaker questions divine creation and mourns the lives lost. The poem's vivid imagery and emotional depth create a haunting reflection on the impact of violence.
by Iheoma Uzomba
This poem is an attempt at revealing the other side of Black/African history which often is not talked about. It appraises as well as shows forth the individual connection to one’s history. To take from Eliot, it carries the “pastness of the past along with the present”.
by Nairn Kennedy
by Neetha Kunaratnam
by Anna Powell
My poem began as a multi-sensory response to coloured lights reflected on a wall. Designed for sonic performance, it introduces and evokes sense-perceptions of timbre and rhythm beyond the auditory by using a glossolalic language created during intense concentration. I enjoy producing elements of musicality by combining and extending available senses, which, though I cannot physically hear, can communicate such possibilities to others.
by Amanda T McIntyre
I wrote this poem in early 2023 when I was unable to return to Trinidad for Carnival. It is a consideration of how artists continue their practices despite the myriad, often critical, circumstances that confront them. The reflection is rendered through images of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and its revolutionary history, to engage global concerns about freedom of expression, the triumph of imagination and the use of art in political advocacy.
by Juleus Ghunta
This poem is a Duplex, a form created by American poet Jericho Brown. A Duplex has 14 lines, each line has 9 to 11 syllables. The first line must be echoed in the last, the second echoed in the third and so on. In this Duplex, I reflect on sleeplessness as an effect of (maternal) abuse, looking at my experience and how physically escaping does not always lead to psychological relief.
by R S Kendle
by Suji Kwock Kim
by Kelbe Nails
Of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked yearly, 70 percent are female. Women have a long history of being undervalued and under protected. I wanted to turn that feeling and fear into a short poetic story that displays that history in the everyday actions of women. Something so common as searching for a key or a dress with pockets that puts women at a disadvantage. Something so uncontrolled as being a woman that puts us at a disadvantage.
by Rol-J Williams
Colours of Summer is the result of the collision of two contemporary phenomena in several Caribbean islands: an unbearably hot summer exacerbated by climate change, and street festivities or carnivals. Serendipitously, both phenomena cast on our tropical islands, several kaleidoscopic colours, some that bring or exemplify joy and revelry, others that show the harsh and changing climate within which we live; revellers party while the land burns.
This poem is about my older sister moving back into my parents house during lockdown and how I grew to resent her and how she treated me. We've always had a close relationship, and I've always looked up to her even though I'm the more responsible of the two of us. So much tragedy occurred during the pandemic, but instead of coming together as families many people were forced apart by their proximity---an ironic downfall of humanity.
by Beth Brooke
I finally caught Covid in April 2023. As an asthmatic it was something that I had been dreading. I found I couldn’t do anything for several weeks and during that time the news just made me more and more enraged. The rage and the recovery came together in the poem.
by Saheed Sunday
This is a poem advocating for a recheck in Climate Change in Africa. We are far subsumed into the belief that climate change is not a threat to us, but it is. When the brunt hits, we will not be protected by the skins of our forefathers that had drowned in the sea.
by Eabhan Ní Shuileabháin
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This Year's Judges
Robert has four poetry collections: Travelling to the Fish Orchards, On the Beach with Chet Baker, Writing King Kong, all from Seren; and The Book of Snow from Two Rivers Press. The Museum of Everything is forthcoming from Seren in 2021.
He has won awards and nominations from the National Poetry Competition, London Poetry, Forward Poetry Prize and Housman Poetry Prize.
Robert was Chairman of The Poetry Trust and is Chairman of The Poetry Archive.
He works for the BBC as Head of BBC History.
Courtney Conrad is an award-winning poet born and raised in Jamaica and currently based in London. Her work delves into the tensions within Caribbean migration, gender-based violence and national politics.
Courtney is an Eric Gregory Award winner and a Bridport Prize Young Writers Award recipient. She was shortlisted for The White Review Poet's Prize, Manchester Poetry Prize, Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, Mslexia’s Women’s Poetry Prize, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award’s Poetry Prize and the Poetry Wales Pamphlet competition. She was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition, Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize and The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition.
Her poems have appeared in various publications, Magma Poetry, Poetry Wales, The White Review, Stand Magazine, Poetry Review, bath magg, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and others. Her work has been anthologised by Anamot Press, Bridport Prize, Re.creation, Peekash Press, Bad Betty Press and Flipped Eye Press. She is an alumna of The London Library Emerging Writers Programme, Malika's Poetry Kitchen, Barbican Young Poets, Obsidian Foundation Retreat, Griots Well Collective and Roundhouse Poetry Collective.
She has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Brainchild Festival and UKYA City Takeover. Commissioned by the Museum of London, Guildhall, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain, The African Centre, BBC 1Xtra and Spread the Word.
Merrie Joy Williams
Merrie Joy Williams is a poet, novelist, essayist, writing tutor, and editor of prose and poetry anthologies. A former English teacher, she has been shortlisted three times for the Bridport Prize, longlisted twice for the National Poetry Competition, and is a winner of The Poetry Archive’s ‘Wordview 2020’ competition, permanently featured on their website. She is the recipient of a London Writers’ Award, Arts Council England awards for poetry and fiction, a Hawthornden fellowship, and is an Obsidian alumna.
She has been Writer-in-Residence for MMU Special Collections & Manchester Poetry Library, who also recently commissioned and exhibited a broadside of one of her poems; as well as Applause Rural Touring/The South Downs National Park, and Historic England, which are available online as podcasts. She was Lead Facilitator of the fiction project, ‘WRITTEN’, which partnered with Arvon to organise a national residential for debut writers of colour; and as a neurodivergent, is a growing advocate for neurodiversity in literary spaces and communities.
Merrie has appeared at The Southbank Festival, The Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival, for ONCA with kin’d & kin’d discussing form and eco-poetics, and on BBC Radio. Poems and reviews have been published in Poetry Wales, Pree Lit, The Good Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Writing in Education, and the ‘After Sylvia’ anthology (Nine Arches), amongst others. Her debut collection is ‘Open Windows’ (Waterloo, 2019), of which Magma Poetry wrote: ‘She is clearly good at her craft. Her writing is assured, driven by sonorous language’.
A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.
Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."
Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."
Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."Watch the full Wordview 2023 playlist