Friday, 9 October 2015

Oram, Zammit, Burchell win SPM Publications Poetry Book Prizes, ‘Poems for a Liminal Age’ goes to Brighton.

  1. Peter Oram, Abigail Zammit and Graham Burchell win top prizes in the maiden SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition
  2. Poems for a Liminal Age goes to Brighton
  3. Current Sentinel Competitions

Our Special Offers on Books continue until midnight on October 12.
- Get a FREE copy of Blue Hyacinths anthology when you buy a copy of Poems for a Liminal Age. You get the books, Medecins Sans Frontieres gets £5.

- Get a FREE copy of Sentinel Poetry Quarterly #2 when you buy a copy of Marking Time by Roger Elkin.


Sentinel Writing & Publishing Newsletter

OCTOBER 9, 2015

SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition 2014/15 Results

We are pleased to announce the results of the maiden SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition 2014/15 judged by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie as follows:

The two highly commended collections are A Slice of Strudel by Joan Michelson (entered under the pen name Marigold) and Dear Dancer by Angela Arnold (entered under the pen name Maddy Scott).

The Third Prize goes to Cottage Pi by Graham Burchell (entered under the pen name Kate Johns).

The Second Prize goes to Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin (formerly You may touch if you like) by Abigail Zammit (entered under the name Mnajdra).

The First Prize has been won by In Carvoeiro & Other Sequences by Peter Oram (entered under the pen name Maro)

The top three prize winners will have their collections published by SPM Publications in November 2015 and the three collections Cottage Pi by Graham Burchell, Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin by Abigail Zammit and In Carvoeiro & Other Sequences by Peter Oram will be launched in London on December 12, 2015.
It is not the end of the road for the two highly commended collections which are of very high quality. We shall be discussing with the poets to see how we can work towards a possibility of publishing them in 2016.

Sentinel Writing Competitions |


Judging any poetry competition is a difficult and delicate matter, but judging a poetry collection competition involves a broader set of considerations, a weighing up of the focus, the craft, the word play, the authenticity of voice within individual poems along with the balance of the whole collection, the accumulative and sequential impact of the poems, the recurring tropes and motifs, the sense of movement throughout the work as a coherent whole.

The five collections in our final short list all contained powerful poems and highly evolved poetic voices, poems that used various forms without becoming lost in the structural constraints. All contained poems with a vibrancy and a sense of urgency, and they don't flinch in the face of human passions nor difficult subject areas. It was a very tricky decision to make as all have their own merits and resonances, all are original in their own right making comparisons between them difficult.
In the end we chose the three that held together best for us as collections whilst maintaining a sense of pleasing variety of mind and tone or showed a greater awareness of sequential reading through the lack of any padding.

In Carvoeiro & Other Sequences has beautiful lyrical impact in its unusual and startling capacity for making language new in its arrangements and phrases. It also stood out through the sophisticated mastery of closed and open forms contained within it. The sonnet sequence is stunning. It is very difficult to write in this strict form with the naturalness of measured voice that the author achieves. This contrasts well against the looser, spacious and organic verse sequence ‘Six Premature Ejaculations’ that shows daring in both form and content. We both got the greatest pleasure from reading this collection.

Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin is a sensual and passionate collection, it's makes the language sing and the author shows a keen eye for focused detail that moves beyond mere picture-making into layers of symbolism and metamorphosis. The author displays a capacity for speaking through masks, shifting personae without losing a coherent sense of voice.

Cottage Pi contains a wry observational tone, finding poetry in the ordinary small detail, a sense of a located author engaged in psycho-geography. It moves through forms and the voice is convincing, shifting in tone from a dry sense of humour to visionary transcendence in key epiphanic moments.

Bob Beagrie & Andy Willoughby


Poems for a Liminal Age Goes to Brighton

Poems for a Liminal Age is an anthology published by SPM Publications in support of Médecins Sans Frontières. Edited by Mandy Pannett, this book has been well-received and is raising a handsome amount of money for the charity. After the successful launch in London on the 29th of August, the promotional road show for this wonderful project continues with the Brighton launch on the 10th of October at the Exeter Street Hall between 6:30 and 8:30pm. If you are in the Brighton area, why not register to attend? Learn more and register here:



For original, previously unpublished poems in English language on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long.

Closing Date: 30-November-2015

Judge: Oz Hardwick

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

Click here to enter competition now


Sentinel Annual Poetry & Short Story Competition 2015 | Closing Date: 31-Dec-15

For original, previously unpublished poems and short stories in English Language, on any subject, in any style up to 60 lines long (poems) or up to 2000 words long (short stories). Judges: The judges for this year's competitions are Afam Akeh (Poetry) and Alex Keegan (Short Stories).

Prizes: Prizes in each category are £700 (1st), £350 (2nd), £175 (3rd) and 5 x £55 (High Commendation).
Entry Fee: £6/1, £11/2, £15/3, £18/4 and £20/5 poems or stories.

Contact: For more information see website:


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