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Incorporating The Laureate's Prize judged by Carol Ann Duffy 


I love pamphlets. They seem in many ways the perfect parcel for poetry - small enough to carry anywhere, brief enough to devour in a single sitting and yet so full and rich that we can return to them again and again and still find something new. They allow a poet to introduce themselves, to tell a story or to take an image, a tone, and let it ring through the pamphlet like a bell. Often when I'm judging a single poem prize I'm left longing to read more by the poet, to see their poem within the full feather fan a longer work provides, and so judging the 2018 Poetry Business Pamphlet competition was a pleasure. The standards were exceptionally high and the fact that David and I shared many of the same choices is testament to the ability that fine poetry has to shine out. Many wonderful poets have begun their careers with a Poetry Business pamphlet and so it felt very exciting to be part of this early stage. Thank you to all the shortlisted poets - you made our job a joy so take heart and keep your faith in your work - and congratulations and three cheers for this year's wonderful winners! – Liz Berry


It was heartening to note that almost all the poets in contention did in their different ways and with different emphases address the common central facts of human existence: love, death, grief and the will to happiness. It reinforces one’s faith in the whole endeavour of poetry to see those essential things being written about in the real context of our own day and age. I’ve noticed this before in judging such competitions. Poets want to say what it is like now – living and caring for a loved one with cancer or dementia, for example. Taking all the pamphlets together, there was great variety of subject, poetic form and tone of voice. Singly, some stuck too much to the anecdotal (what ‘really’ happened) and with that came then a certain monotony or flatness, the experience or occurrence wanting, to become a poem, a vitality which is not necessarily there in the ‘facts of the matter’. And one question: is it now generally thought that poets needn’t (or perhaps even shouldn’t) rhyme at all? I’d be sorry if that were the current teaching. But in conclusion: back to my beginning. The scores of poems here, by eighteen authors, demonstrate not just the necessity for poetry but also the life of it, the good it does. – David Constantine  



 Rebecca Cullen is from Nottingham. She started to write poetry after careers in teaching and the civil service, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. She is in the final stages of her PhD 'Mastering Time: Time and Temporality in Contemporary Poetry' at NTU, funded by Midlands3Cities DTP and the AHRC. In 2016 she was the second poet-in-residence at Newstead Abbey, ancestral home of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Her poetry has been published in 'The North', 'New Walk' and New Poetries VII.

 Navy Knock Mango Blue Off Tie This is a pamphlet of poems which shine and crackle with their own dark electricity. Finely wrought, precise and wide ranging in their themes, they carry a pleasing shiver of wildness in their hearts. – Liz Berry on Rebecca’s collection,’Majid Sits in a Tree and Sings’



Ann Gray has a Creative writing MA from the University of Plymouth. Her most recent collection was At The Gate (Headland, 2008) Her poems have been selected for the Forward Prize Anthology, commended for the National Poetry Competition, won the Ballymaloe poetry prize and shortlisted for the Forward prizes best single poem in 2015.

Poet in residence at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens for the Thresholds University Museums Project, curated by the Poet Laureate in 2013, she is co-director of the Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival, now in its 7th year. She lives in Cornwall where she cares for people with dementia.

 We both loved this moving, tender collection of poems which explores what it means to have and to lose a mother. The poems in this pamphlet are lyrical, carefully crafted with a lightness of touch and, so importantly, "unafraid to be kind". At once a joyful and aching read. – Liz Berry on Ann’s Collection, ‘I Wish I Had More Mothers’



Christopher North’s first collection ‘A Mesh of Wires’ published by Smith Doorstop was short-listed for the Forward Prize in 1999. He has published two full collections since: ‘Explaining the Circumstances’ (2010), ‘The Night Surveyor’ (2014) and a joint , bilingual collection ‘Al Otro Lado del Aguilar’ (2011) with Terry Gifford - all with Oversteps Books. His most recent pamphlet collection is ‘Wolves Recently Sighted’ Templar Poetry 2014. Since 2002, with his wife Marisa, he has facilitated poetry writing retreats and courses at, Almassera Vella in Relleu, Alicante Spain. He chairs ‘Stanza Alacant’ now in its eleventh year. He is a strong advocate of Peter Redgrove’s incubation process.

 A large and various cast of strange, sad, joyous, repellent and poignant characters. A sort of travelogue or bestiary. I liked its oddity, gusto – and unemphatic pathos.Tie Navy Off Blue Mango Knock – David Constantine on Christopher’s collection ‘The Topiary of Passchendaele’



Madeleine Wurzburger was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, UK and currently lives in Richmond, Surrey where she works as a private EFL teacher. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, Long Poem Magazine and included in the 2012 Flarestack Poets Pamphlet anthology. She was also a shortlisted poet in the 2015 Bridport Prize.

An extraordinarily precise and effective deployment of sometimes quite arcane knowledge. There’s the shock of originality, followed by the more important realization that things that matter are being said. – David Constantine on Madeleine’s collection, ‘Sleeve Catching Fire at Dawn’



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Liz Berry's debut poetry collection Black Country (Chatto & Windus, 2014), described as "a sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands" (Guardian), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Black CountryLook T Basic Tee Black Tall New Pocket Slub shirt dRw4qdgC was chosen as a book of the year by The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mail, The Big Issue and The Morning Star. Liz’s poems have been broadcast on BBC radio, television and recorded for the Poetry Archive. She has been a judge for major poetry competitions including The Forward Prizes and Foyle Young Poets and works as a tutor for Writers' Centre Norwich and The Arvon Foundation. 




David Constantine, born 1944 in Salford, Lancs, was for thirty years a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry (most recently – 2014 –  Elder); also two novels and four collections of short stories. He is an editor and translator of Hölderlin, Goethe, Kleist and Brecht. To OUP’s Literary Agenda Series he contributed Poetry (2013). With his wife Helen he edited Modern Poetry in Translation, 2003-12.




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Blue Off Mango Knock Navy Tie Judged by Carol Ann Duffy

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Navy Blue Tie Off Mango Knock Judging is currently underway for the Laureate's Prize, and the winners will be announced at the end of June, 2018. 


All entrants to the main competition will automatically be entered into this prize, which will celebrate and showcase the best single poems by entrants to The 2017/18 International Book & Pamphlet Competition. 

The competition judges will shorlitst sixteen poems from all manuscripts entered into the main competition. A first, second and third prize winner will be chosen by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. 

Three winners will be awarded prizes of £500 (1st prize), £200 (2nd prize), and £50 (3rd prize) respectively. The winners will also be invited to read a selection of their work alongside the winners of our main International Book & Pamphlet Competition at The Wordsworth Trust. 

The three winning poems will be published in the North magazine in 2018. 

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