Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: When They Bombed

(after Ilya Kaminsky)

When they bombed the South, we said
it was the sort of thing that happens in London; when
they shelled Harrogate, we thought: well, they’ve always
been snobby there; when they missiled Leeds, we heard
it was the city centre, and we don’t go there much nowadays.

When the street fighting started, it was in Holt Park;
we could hardly hear the gunfire when we closed
all the windows. Later that day, the people being dragged
out of their houses and shot were at the other end of the street,
so that was OK. Ignore that hammering on the door;
soon everything will go away.

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 ...

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Nairn Kennedy

Nairn Kennedy is a Leeds-based poet whose work has appeared in Orbis, Ink Sweat & Tears, The London Magazine, Stand, The North, Spelt and Under the Radar. He's been a runner-up in the Ilkley Literature Festival Competition, longlisted in the National Poetry Competition, and highly commended in the Bridport, amongst others.


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."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2023 playlist