Vote for Your IS&T Pick of the Month for June 2019

This month our shortlist embraces everything from Death to DIY. Melanie Branton exposes the underbelly in ‘Cemetery’ while the Hell that is flat pack furniture has made its way into Helen Rye‘s excellent and beautifully constructed (!) short story – published on National Flash Fiction Day – and Arji Manuelpillai‘s fine and melancholy poem. On the way we meet Sally Michaelson‘s heartbreaking ‘Night Raider’ and experience an exhilarating journey or two with Tom Bennett ‘Travelling Light’ and Colin Crewdson on ‘The Road to Kars’!

All six works have been chosen by Helen or Kate or received the most attention on social media. They can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for your June 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Please VOTE HERE. Voting will close at 9pm on Wednesday 17th July.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and was Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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‘Because’ from Clementine E. Burnley is our Pick of the Month for May 2019.

When sifting through all the comments on our shortlist for May’s Pick of the Month, in amongst the ‘beautifuls’, ‘powerfuls’, ‘movings’ and ‘evocatives’, one comment in particular stood out. In response to Clementine E. Burnley’s poem which looks at the injustice and indignity associated with deportation, someone had written ‘relevant to me’. And at that point, ‘Because’ became more than just a poem. It is therefore fitting in this chaotic time, when it feels like the wolves are at the door, that it is our Pick of the Month for May 2019.

Clementine is a mother, writer, and community worker. In 2018 she was published in the the Emma Press Second Place Rosette: Poems about Britain, loss lit magazine, and die Neue Rundschau. You can find her on twitter @decolonialheart.

Clementine has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the Hackney Migrant Centre.

 

 

Because

we have few means,
of dealing
with the night,
a door crashes open.
Closes.
with a woman standing barefoot at the airport,
in pajamas and handcuffs
with isolated instances. Rogue police officers
have never been isolated,
or dealt with
in any systematic way.

 

Voters comments included:

A beautiful poem about deportation, an image we try to unsee but that needs to be shared again and again

It’s so graphic BECAUSE the few sentences remind me of so many shoeless differently clad women behind closed doors.

Good visual through writing . Punchy .

Love the topic, the expression of the author

Poignant imagery through few words

Democracy did neva stands for DEMON-stration the CRAZYness.

because of the airports ; )

Beautiful and timely

Because it moved me to tears.

It says, showing mostly, a lot in so few lines.

Accurate!

It’s poetic, tells an important story and doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of the West.

Injustice on so many levels

Stark imagery, laid bare and stripped. Tells a whole story in few words. Beautiful!

…Her books, poets, short stories although fiction, takes the reader into a world of hidden reality where events and practices are not much talked about or recounted for the future generations to know about…

It deals with a very PERTINENT and CURRENT issue.

Brings an image of immigration in simple way

The theme is relatable worldwide.

Inspiring, original and soul searching writing!

Because it tells a powerful story in such a small space of justice and of looking beyond what we see to the truth.

Clementine’s Because will get my vote anytime. Because, this piece resonates with me. It reminds me. I don’t get that lately! I really hope it wins.

It’s simple and beautiful with a message that’s particularly relevant at this time.

Very well written and topical

It’s simply beautiful.

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UEA FLY Festival 2019 Competition Winner 15-18 yr olds and Norfolk Prize Winner – Maud Webster

The 15-18 yr old group winner for the 2019 writing competition at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY) is Maud Webster from City of Norwich School. The theme for this year’s competition was a poem of any length beginning with the word ‘Afterwards’.

As the winner of the Norfolk Prize, Maud wins the opportunity for her poem to be made into an animated film, courtesy of sponsors Somo Global.

 

 

 

AFTERWARDS

afterwards, we perch
baked by the sun, legs swing
laughing at the exploits of summer

this time, that time, and
the murmur of names bring
back the lazy, hazy faces
frame our existence in the minds of places

the soulless winter heralds
a crawling spring
long-awaited rays of gold
of which our memories told
to us, would be worth waiting for

beach riots and sandals slapping
the sandcastle king.
boardwalk encounters and
dune disasters, we missed this land.
land of being present and
land of sandwiches and swimming and

that ‘sweltering’ sun.

 

The runner up in this category is Jessica Holmes from Turing House School, Hampton.

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UEA FLY Festival 2019 Competition Winner 12-14 yr olds and Overall Winner – Rebekah Bongers

Ink Sweat & Tears is, once again, the proud supporter of today’s Poetry Day at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY)  and we are also very pleased to be able to bring you the winners of 2019’s writing competition which this year was exclusively devoted to Poetry.  The theme was a poem of any length beginning with the word ‘Afterwards’.

Judges Jeremy Noel-Tod, Lewis Buxton and Jos Smith received so many poems that they had long discussions before deciding the final winners.

The winner of the 12–14 category and the overall winner is: Rebekah Bongers from Reigate Grammar School.

 

 

AFTERWARDS.

Afterwards.
After the party.
Cups shoved into plastic bags.
Balloons let down, discarded.
Empty packets line the swelling bin.

Afterwards.
The next morning.
Rubbish truck shunts into view.
Bags swung in.
Drives off to next collection.

Afterwards.
Truck overloaded.
So much waste for one area.
Pulling into temporary home.
Landfill.

Afterwards.
Seagulls screech in excitement.
Rubbish pours onto the heap.
Soon torn apart by crazed birds.
Mountains of waste.

Afterwards.
Plastic bottles crushed together.
Small packets roll around.
Plastic bags blow everywhere.
Straining to be free.

Afterwards.
Several bags escape.
Spread everywhere.
One is caught by a crying gull.
Another is blown into a forest.

Afterwards.
One falls into the sea.
Tossed by large waves.
Travels far and wide.
A painful trap.

Afterwards.
Shoals of fish swerve in unison.
Sharks avoid the bright plastic..
Turtle swims to it cautiously.
Mistake.

Afterwards.
What happens afterwards?
We kill animals.
We put that bag in the bin.
Think twice.

 

The runner up in the 12-14 yr old category is Megan Valerie-Cooke from Wymondham High Academy.

The winning poem for the 15-18 yr old group will be featured on IS&T tomorrow and the runner up announced.

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Vote for your Pick of the Month for May 2019

Sometimes you just need to make a stand and in many ways that is what we are seeing from our shortlisted poets for May’s Pick of the Month. Tristan Moss’s hero in ‘Origins’ is all about [holding] the origin of all things/above her wish to have them…’ Clementine E. Burnley‘s ‘Because’ demands that we take notice of  ‘… a woman standing barefoot at the airport,/in pajamas and handcuffs’ and so much more.

‘Cerebellum (a secular prayer to the vacuum)’ by Matt Nicholson, is lighter in tone but no less importunate – ‘teach me to be emancipated,/to be satisfied…’ Avril Joy‘s ‘Aztec Love Song for Uprooted Flowers’ is dedicated to women in prison ‘buds unopened, roses full-blown/discarded, trampled on…’ while Harriet Jae, in her ‘Bid for Freedom’ seeks to ‘outleap these bounds in outlaw song.’ Perhaps only Mhairi Owens in her dark and haunting ‘Hippocampus’ bows to the inevitable: ‘But that’s something that lives where light doesn’t./It appears in the deceptive netting/of its own flesh…’ Or does she?

Whatever your choice – and all can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for your May 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen – these works will not leave you.

Voting has now closed. The winner will be announced on Thursday 27th June at 4pm BST.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and was Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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And April 2019’s Pick of the Month is ‘Vital Signs’ by Emma Baines

Sometimes when there an abundance of excellent poetry to chose from, the IS&T Pick of the Month is the one that has the most power to move voters and so it is with ‘Vital Signs’ by Emma Baines. When you read comments such as ‘the most beautiful, heart rending poem ever’ and ‘it is an uplifting poem, simple, direct and moving’ – and these are just two of the many you will see below – you really do see the effect of this amazing work.

Emma has been writing for many years and published poetry in magazines and journals including The Lampeter Review, Roundyhouse, Cambria and POEM. In 2011, she edited and contributed to The Month had 32 Days, published by Parthian and has read at festivals and events including the Laugharne Weekend. She also travelled to Ireland on the Coracle literary exchange. Emma has has translated work (from Welsh to English) for Menna Elfyn and her own writing has recently been included in installation by glass artist Linda Norris. This year, she has co-founded a writers group in Pembrokeshire and is currently facilitating poetry workshops to create films based on the Women of West Wales for Llangwm Literary Festival.

Emma has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!

 

Vital Signs

We laughed,
in spite of the darkness,
at the circles around your eyes.

and you rolled them
over hand-knitted hats
in the chemo ward,
to cover things we tried to hide.

when I shaved your head
and the last of your hair
fell in your lap, you beamed.

as I showered you,
fresh from surgery,
and you carried your drain
in a floral bag; we joked.

when you unzipped a new breast;
pocketed a new you,
we poked fun at all things false.

but when you smiled from the scanner
a truth was told:
how your bones glow
is beyond the measure of science.

now life is given
its last chance to impress you,
from the bottom of us;
we laugh.

 

 

Voters’ comments included:

This poem gets my vote because of its tenderness, the light it shines on love and intimacy. It tells the dark light as Kei Miller would say.

A poem with great feeling, understanding, compassion and warmth.

The light touch of the language contrasted to the subject. It reads as a poem for me.

A very insightful, accessible poem. It has an optimism and strength associated with the sufferers of this sad condition.

It’s such a moving poem — one that everyone can recognise but as it draws to a close it reaches a new realm of love beyond the detritus and heartbreak of lives

Shows complete empathy of a very difficult situation.

Its a beautiful poem, written from the heart, and made me feel that I was there…

The exquisite sensibility and sensitivity of the writing.

Not only through her writing she’s beautiful inside and out. She written for years, but just needs to be noticed for what she’s amazing at doing! She deserves this.

Such an endearing poem representing a journey had by so many. Inspiring and heartfelt

Beautifully written as an expression of a truly difficult time emotionally.

Because this is a sensationally beautiful poem about a difficult and emotive subject.

A wonderful poem born out of sadness but with a strong message of hope and love.

It’s touching and sensitive but also has warmth, humour and humanity in it. Loved it.

This poem is just so beautiful and well measured between the mundane and the profound. I will not forget it.

Emma’s poem is tender and strong at the same time. She uses words beautifully to express intimacy and love in what can be one of the most dehumanising and stressful of situations.

A sharp and compassionate poem, and, what is more, a good one.

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Vote. Vote. Vote. Choose your IS&T Pick of the Month for April 2019!

Often when we make up our IS&T shortlists for Pick of the Month, there is a connection between the works either unintentionally because of the zeitgeist of the moment or, on rare occasions, intentionally when we feel that spirit and run with it. This time, we can say that the only connection between the six poems on our shortlist is that they are all very very good indeed.

So take a few minutes to go through all of them before you make your choice. Does the beautiful use of words and imagery in Matthew Friday’s ‘3 Swans Arrive in Prague’ delight? Or is it the strength and wit of Stephen Lightbown’s ‘Wheel’? Are you truly moved by the ‘Vital Signs’ of Emma Baines or so floored by Michéle Beck’s ‘Siblings’ that you cannot think of anything else? Could it be that you are overwhelmed by Gemma Harland’s ‘Possession’ or think that Alex Josephy has said it all in ‘Therapy’?

The poems are featured below (or click on ‘Vote for your April 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen).

Voting has now closed. April’s ‘Pick’ will be announced on Friday 17th May at 4pm.

The winner each month will be sent a n£10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and was Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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