Competition Secretary Helen Trengrove read out the Judge's report on behalf of Zan Ross who could not attend, but was there at our AGM in spirit.
SPILT INK Judge's report, 2012 by Zan Ross
First of all I’d like to say that I was pleased to find the overall quality of entries so high. As anyone can tell you who knows me even slightly, I’m difficult to impress. Among the strengths in the submissions in total was an attention to specific detail which anchored the reader firmly into each piece; unusual ways of describing the commonplace; a boldness of vocabulary; adventures in sensuality; decisive endings; and focus on the smooth scanning of lines. In selecting the finals winners, then, I demanded something more, and found it: depth of meaning achieved through specificity of detail that carried me beyond what I might find for myself or on the surface of words/events; unusual and consistently used metaphors; adventurous juxtapositions; overall jettison of superfluous adjectives; and the avoidance of abstract nouns (such as “soul”, “love”).
First Prize "Senses" by Christopher Konrad
Zan Ross (and we quote from her report) "What can I say that would be praise enough...The piece had a delicacy of touch that only supported the strength of language used. I was able to enter into it fully, give myself over to its passion, and still feel as if I could return to it again and find more to delight. I can give no higher approbation than to say, I wish I had written it myself.
Second Prize: "Karri Hazel" by Josephine Clarke
Sensuality at its best, I believe. And yet, the poem anchors Nature in the human experience, into celebration and intimacy until the reader literally cascades into the final line, "there are ways of finding light I long to know". As do I.
Third Prize: "Dreams of Detectives lost, lonely and frozen (after Bolano)" by Christopher Konrad
At this point it must seem like some sort of conspiracy - I selected another piece by Chris. Certainly, I didn't intend to - the two poems couldn't have been more different, which just goes to show how versatile the poet is. Anyway, it was the sheer understatement that captured and held. Konrad managed to maintain the metaphor of tragedy that consumes and destroys almost without a false step.
Highly Commended: "The Wardrobe" by Helen Hagemann
A very neat flawless rumination, deftly crafted, on the concrete souvenirs of our past which encapsulate memory and identity. I particularly loved the metaphor of clothing, especially the "little black dress", which framed and delivered the piece into the stunning final lines.
How Rose transformed description of a still-life into an experience of a moment in the life of artist and poet is sheer brilliance. The writer is both the narrator and the artist through contemplation. Have read this piece many times for the sheer joy of the journey.
I would have awarded this piece a prize just for the last two lines, “Move your lips./ Move your red lips.” Fortunately they weren’t the only luscious experiences of language here. Read it; hear it; be consumed by the deft use of words and metaphor.