Thanks to all those who sent in poems this year. We received over 800 poems this year, so thanks to al the contributors, and to Andy Croft from Smokestack Books and Mary Sayer from Unite for doing the difficult job of choosing the winners and the other poems to go into this year's anthology.
The five winners are Helen Burke; Martin Hayes; Fran Lock; Alan Morrison and Steve Pottinger.
This is my second year judging this much-needed and extraordinary competition. Again, I was struck by the passion, the urgency and the sheer hard work driving people to write these poems. So many of the entries were beautifully put together, often with a story that demanded to be told and with artfully refreshing humour.
The poems all reflected the fact that we find ourselves in such bleak and alienating times – making this type of competition more crucial than ever. And this year we had a particularly healthy number of entries from women and from young people – again, a reflection of deep, unvoiced feelings from those hardest hit by today’s increasingly rampant inequality.
So, thanks to all of you passionate poets out there – keep them coming! If I had my way, it would be like Alice in Wonderland: “All are winners and all should have prizes”
Mike Quille is a writer, reviewer and chief editor of Culture Matters.