Just a few weeks ago, Warwick Bridge poet Terry Jones (pictured) won the £5,000 Bridport Poetry Prize and went down to Dorset to collect a nice fat cheque from competition judge and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
It looks like his decision to give up his lecturing job at Carlisle College in the summer, to devote more time to his writing, has paid off – now he’s picked up the £500 first prize in the Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition and second in Cannon Poets’ Sonnet or Not Competition.
Praising his Bridport-winning poem, ‘Endowments’, Carol Ann Duffy said that it “always entranced with its beautiful litany of images for ageing, its balance between elegy and love poem; and yet managed to sign off, audaciously, with a last-line laugh.”
Roger Elkin, who ajudicated for the Sentinel, wrote in his judge’s report that the intriguingly titled ‘The Causation of the Virgin Mother in a Tipperary Barn’ “caught my attention right from the start. What a riot of writing in this mixture of the actual and mythical; the real and imagined.
“There is a concrete realization of the “lovely girl” and all her physical attributes which are conveyed in a sensuous, sensual portrayal both of participator and event – but thankfully(!) suggested rather than too explicitly explored. Diction, image, tone and stance combine to present a rich, effusive, evasive narrative.
“Simultaneously, there is a real sense of the presence of the narrator – and the rhythms of his speaking voice are exquisitely conveyed with humour, an eye to detail and a sense of tongue-in-cheekness coupled with questioning credulousness that underpins the use of the title’s “causation”.
“What is important here is what is not said: the reader has to do some of the work. In the hands of an unskilled writer this could have proved limiting; in this instance, the poem gains from the risk-taking. Superb, enviable writing. Well done!”
His sonnet for the Cannon Poets competition appears below.
The poor apparitions. It would be easier
had they ceased to care and took their nowhere
as the end of presence. Substanceless,
forgetful, they miss what has come to pass,
for what, in absence, is left for them but tricks?
They dull cold mirrors; barely sway candle flames;
on anniversaries appear in dreams;
in thin involvements bumble under glass.
Unnoticed, they wreath-wraith the places where
spring happens: berries sharpen in the hedge;
on speckled eggs birds bustle and nudge;
and they stay outside the misted windows
where the living, curved each to each, embrace,
tongue to tongue transfuse and burn like flowers.
Read more of Terry Jones’ work in this post about his first collection, Furious Resonance, published by Poetry Salzburg in June. His sonnet, ‘Clothes’, was the first poem to be published in our Weekly Poem series – read it here.