Friday, January 28, 2011

International Religious Poetry Competition

I've entered this competition for the last two years but failed miserably. Over 300 people entered over 700 poems last year. One of my new year resolutions was not to enter so many competitions this year but I'm wondering about this one. I do have a small number of poems that might qualify, two and a half actually. I don't buy this ‘broadly religious,’ that is, ‘spiritual’ in nature bit. It's just an excuse to allow every kind of stuff in. Does Williams' Red Wheelbarrow qualify as religious under these terms? Depends.

Anyway recent judges have been Irish including John McAuliffe and Vona Groarke and this obviously put me at a disadvantage (what would Irish poets know about religion!) so I'm toying with the idea of entering the same poems again for one last fling seeing as this year's judge is British.

The details are usually on the website though I can't see them there yet. You can email the organiser,, for rules and an entry form.

Here are some of the details:
1st Prize £450. The winner of the First Prize will be designated ‘The Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year, 2011.’ 2nd Prize £250. 3rd Prize £150. Closing Date: Thursday 30th June 2011

The poems submitted should be ‘broadly religious,’ that is, ‘spiritual’ in nature and, like all good religious poetry, appeal to those who would not necessarily describe themselves as such. ‘Religious’ thus includes poems that are Christian, as well as those from within other faith traditions. Those struggling to discover their own sense of the sacred are also invited to submit entries. Poems are welcome in any style or form and will be judged solely on their merits as poetry.

The judge this year is Jeffrey Wainwright. Jeffrey has published four collections of poetry, all with Carcanet, the most recent being ‘Clarity or Death’ (2008). He has published critical work on Geoffrey Hill, worked as a translator of plays by the likes of Péguy and Claudel, and has written a book on the purposes and styles of poetry, ‘Poetry: The Basics’ (Routledge 2004).

ENTRY FEE: £4.00 for the first poem & £2.50 each for others. Please send your entry to:- ‘The Religious Poetry Competition’, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX.

The picture is the interior of St Mary's Catholic Church, Manchester - wonderful stations of the cross!. The poetry competition is organised by Manchester Cathedral.

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