Sunday, 29 October 2017

Enter Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition - on-going international open every 3 months...since 2009



For original, previously unpublished
poems in English language, on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long. Poets
of all ages, gender, or nationality living in any part of the world are
eligible to enter. Prize-winning, commended and specially mentioned poems will
receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine (online and

Judge: Abegail Morley

Prizes: £200 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £20 x 3 (High
Commendation), 3 x £10 (Commendation), 3 x Special Mentions (publication only)

Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7, £22/10

Enter online and pay by PayPal or
download Entry Form for postal entries at

Send cheques/postal orders payable to
Sentinel Poetry Movement to

Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South
Woodford, London E18 1AB

Enter Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition - on-going international open every 3 months...since 2009

Sunday, 15 October 2017


JUDGE'S REPORT I have, over the past couple of years or so, been involved in a number of conversations in which someone has bemoaned the dearth of political poems. My response has invariably been a bemused What? From the lone poem in a regular journal, through individual collections, to issue-based anthologies and epic projects like 100 Thousand Poets for Change, poetry – like all the arts – is articulating local and global political concern/engagement/anger/fear/etc. on paper, on-line, and on walls.

It is of course legitimate to ask what use such poems are against the often overwhelming insurmountable-seeming challenges we – regardless of race, religion, or any other differences – face, both politically and environmentally. To the despairing (and I occasionally fall into that category myself), I’d suggest that poetry can give voice to the voiceless, can distil the core of human experience into engines of visceral communication at the sharpest edge of language, and in doing so can remind us of the strength of our shared humanity. It can also do a lot more, of course, but these are perhaps the most pressing calls upon the arts at present.

I was heartened by the number of poems submitted for the competition that focused on issues from the wilful decimation of the British NHS by a self-interested government, to human displacement on a global scale: and, beyond this, they were very good poems indeed. Both ‘Lethal Theory’ and ‘In transit’ are excellent examples. The former employs military acronyms and the impersonal language of medicine, perfectly balanced around the human tragedy of those caught up in events within which they are barely acknowledged. Specific, yet chillingly universal, the poem’s strength lies as much in what is avoided as what is said, culminating in the blunt negative of that unforgettable final line. The latter is a very different poem, but no less powerful, the second-person address and controlled vagueness concerning detail places the reader uncomfortably into a limbo without full stops that continually stacks the odds against the shadow of hope that is desperately introduced mid-way through the final stanza.

Lest all this imply a single-mindedness of approach to subject in my assessment of the range of poems submitted, the ekphrastic ‘Vanitas’ stood out as a beautifully tight response to a painting that – as with all the best poems of its type – goes way beyond its descriptive surface, tapping into questions of faith and very corporeal connections and absences, resolving into that rich image of the ‘thick and wrinkled’ wax. Additionally, of course, it vividly evokes the private, domestic space and the dangerous unknown without, as – in their own ways – do the previously discussed poems. And if there was one overriding theme that arose time and time again in the submitted poems, it was this idea of the home, with all of its connotations of security and fragility. Indeed, of those dozen poems that made my short-list, more than half directly addressed the theme in one way or another: an indication, perhaps, of a shared response to uncertain times in which we are more conscious of our need for the safe and the known – and, I hope, for a place in which to welcome and be welcomed.

The pleasure in judging this competition was the difficulty of the task, and in the reaffirmation of poetry’s – and art’s more generally – importance.

- Oz Hardwick

Results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2017)

Special Mentions:
Labile - Sharon Phillips
Surrender - Kelly Nunnerley
Your windows – L Thompson

Our Father – Michael Brown
Swinger - Kathleen Strafford
Some have entertained angels unawares - Inky

Highly Commended:
Frozen Ringtone - Maria Isakova Bennett
What does the heart mean in popular culture? - Sharon Phillips
The Softening - Diane Cook

Third Prize:
Vanitas – Gabriel Griffin

Second Prize:
In transit - Greta Ross

First Prize:
Lethal theory – Noel Williams

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Gap Year: Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin

Gap Year: Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin

Sentinel poets Andy Blackford and John Foggin shall be reading from their book Gap Year, winner of the SPM Publications Poetry Book Prize 2016, at the Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage on Saturday, September 9th 2017.
Location: Viking Cottage, Seaton Garth. Venue: 96

About Gap Year: Middlesbrough, 1966: The young new English teacher, John Foggin, rolled into the Lower Sixth’s Eng. Lit. lesson like a Dyson into a world of broken Hoovers. Joyce and Shelley and Gerard Manley Hopkins danced in his wake, vividly alive and slightly intoxicated. That’s how it seemed to 16 year-old Andy Blackford, anyway. Almost 50 years later, they were reunited here in Staithes. Foggin was already a much-lauded poet - Blackford’s prime contribution to high culture, the TV jingle for Um Bongo. They resolved to write a poem each, every week for a year. The result is Gap Year, a collection that has won them the SPM Publications Poetry Book Prize and was published in April 2017.

Learn more about Gap Year here. | Buy from Amazon


Could your next book be a prizewinning poetry collection?

The SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition 2017 judged by Roger Elkin will close on September 30, 2017. This competition is for full length poetry collections in English language, on any subject, in any style. The final collection must be no more than 90 A4 pages long. For the first stage of the competition, send 20 pages of previously unpublished poetry.

Prizes: in addition to a standard publishing contract, there will also be cash prizes of £300 (first), £200 (second) and £100 (third). Each prizewinner will also receive 20 copies of his or her book.

There is an Entry/Reading fee of £25.00

See the full competition details, terms and publishing schedule at


Abegail Morley to judge the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017)

For original, previously unpublished poems in English language on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long.
Closing Date: 30 November 2017
Judge: Abegail Morley
Prizes: £200 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £20 x 3 (High Commendation), 3 x £10 (Commendation)
Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7, £22/10


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