I was double-thrilled & beyond delighted to find out that my poem, Somewhere To Keep The Rain – after Wen Ying-Tsai, Umbrella (1971) won first prize in this year’s Winchester Poetry Prize – judged by (2016 T S Eliot Prize Winner) Sarah Howe.
It’s always an honour to make it to any of the mentions in a competition – not least because, like many poets, I put a lot of time, love and energy into entering and submitting work here, there and everywhere.
I discovered that I’d won the first prize while I was on holiday – via Twitter! After which there might have been a *few too many Maltese cocktails* and a sore head the following day.
Having a poem which feels close to my heart recognised – and by such a renowned poet – is wonderful. It’s a piece which responded to a sculpture previously installed in the Tate Modern’s ‘Tanks’ space – and, for me, gives voice to those days when you feel exposed, raw somehow, and like the volume of the world is turned up to the max.
So it’s not just winning the competition – but that a poem which tries to encapsulate this feeling has been understood, that it has communicated – and now gives its title to the winners’ anthology (see above). I’m looking forward immensely to reading this, cover to cover.
When nods like this (or my National Poetry Competition Second Prize and Rialto Pamphlet shortlisting ealier this year ) come around, it’s good to celebrate and really notice – it gives us fuel to keep going. So: keep going!
As I couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I made this video reading of the poem – I hope you enjoy it: