Newman’s Poetry Competition winner announced

04/07/2018 by Sinead Staunton

Towards the end of 2017 Newman University, Birmingham launched a poetry competition for staff and students, both past and present to take part in. The competition was organised by two of Newman’s Alumni; Dr Graham McFarlane and Terry Murphy.

Graham and Terry were the first Editor & Deputy Editor of Newman’s original Poetry Magazine in academic year 1968-69; the magazine and poetry evenings ran every term till 1971 when they graduated from Newman – as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations both Graham and Terry wanted to recognise the importance of poetry for the future generations with this competition.

With 26 entries into the competition the panel had a tough decision to make. The judges included both Graham and Terry along with Dr Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newman University and also Professor Peter Childs, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Scholarship at Newman.

The winning poem ‘St Mary’s Middle Tysoe’ was submitted by Richard Goode, Lecturer in Theology at Newman and was chosen unanimously as the winner by the panel. When talking about what inspired his poem, Richard said “Like most things I have written, it is difficult to identify one specific thing that inspired me to write this poem. This particular poem relates to a time when I was the winder of the village clock that is located in the tower of our parish church. It is good exercise and also provides a great time to reflect on life in general! Previous clock winders have scratched their initials on the clock case which creates a very real connection with the past. I suppose that sense of continued history of small and great changes within village life (the church was built in Norman times) combined with my own journey with its own twists and turns provided the starting point of the poem.”

Richard says that his creative reflective writing ebbs and flows yet he feels it is a great way to reflect, and poetry provides a helpful vocabulary by which to try and articulate the many elements of his experience that evade other forms of expression. He also explains that he finds that writing really helps with his academic writing – and vice versa.

When hearing the news that he had been successful in the competition, Richard said “I am absolutely delighted (and rather taken aback) to find out that other people have enjoyed something like this that I have written.”

As the winner Richard will receive a £150 prize and the runners-up, Teresa Mary Clements with her poem ‘Lux Aeturna’ and Valerie Thompson with her poem ‘The Telling of the Stars’ will also receive £50 each.

Due to the high quality of entries into the competition the judging panel also decided to award two Highly Commended prizes; these were given to Emma Louise Beacon for her poem ‘Mixed Race’ and also to Shannen Lea Carter for her poem ‘Love is Love’.

A formal presentation of prizes will take place on Friday 26th October.

The poems can be viewed below:

1st place: Richard Goode – St Mary’s Middle Tysoe

2nd place: Teresa Mary Clements – Lux Aeturna

3rd place: Valerie Thompson – The Telling of the Stars

Highly Commended: Emma Louise Beacon – Mixed Race and Shannen Lea Carter – Love is Love