X International Poetry competition

AWARDS sponsored by ALESSI

closing 15th May 2010 (postmark) Email entries till midnight 15 May


Three Categories: Silver Wyvern (max.60 lines), Formal Verse (max 40 lines), Short poems (max. 10 lines)

Suggested (but not obligatory) theme for all categories: "Mediterranean"


James Harpur (Silver Wyvern), Carole Baldock (Short), Kevin Bailey (Formal)

The adjudicators will read all the entries


Prizes - to be awarded at the Celebration 1-3  October 2010


Silver Wyvern + €500;    €100 each x 3 runners-up

Formal Verse   : €100            Short Poems    :  €100 

and Alessi designer bowl to all winners present at awards.  

New 2010:

First prizewinners in each category will also receive a year's subscription to ORBIS ,

offered by Carole Baldock, editor of Orbis and Kudos


and their winning poems be published therein.  


POETRY ON THE LAKE X International Poetry Competition Guidelines


Closing Date: 15th MAY 2010.



Silver Wyvern :, max. 60 lines

Formal verse: max. 40 lines.

Short poems: max. 10 lines

suggested (not obligatory) theme all categories ‘Mediterranean', Interpret as wishe  



UK: £8 first poem, 2nd & 3rd £6; then £5 per poem. 

Euro: €20 for 2 poems ; then €10 per poem


We accept: UK cheques or UK postal orders payable to G.Griffin-Hall and CROSSED. Italian cheques payable as above, marked Non trasferibile. Or euro, US & Ca dollar notes (see below). From all countries other than UK and Italy, send notes (wrapped in foil), we CANNOT ACCEPT Bank Drafts, Money orders, Irish or other postal orders. Sorry!

USA & Rest of World

US & CA dollars: count fees in dollars as for euro. Send notes only, safer wrapped in metallic foil.


No entry form required. Send 2 copies of each poem (poems should be unpublished and not  have been awarded a prize previously), mark category top right; one copy anonymous, other  with contact details, email address.



are accepted from outside Europe (or last minuters) and may be paid through PAYPAL or as above. There is an additional charge of ten euro or 10 dollars or five pounds for your entry. Preferably send as Word (doc but not docx) attachments, one copy anonymous, other with contact details .

To pay through Paypal, calculate competition fees in euros according to number of poems entered, add ten euro, then email poetryonthelake(at)yahoo.co.uk. We will ask Paypal to send you a request form for this sum.


The same poem may be entered in two or more categories but will count  each time as a separate entry. An entrant may win two or three prizes if poems have been entered in different categories but only one prize in each category. Results will be published on site, winners contacted. Poems will not be returned.


At the adjudicators' discretion, a prize may not be awarded if there is no poem of required standard.


Possible publication with Italian translation facing for selected poems (we try to contact all authors first for permission and proof correction, although entry to the competition implies automatic permission to publish). Copyright remains with the author. 


Entering the competition implies acceptance of the rules.


Results July. Autumn awards with winners/commended reading at Lake Orta 1-3 October 2010. 


SEND TO: Poetry on the Lake, Isola San Giulio, 28016 Orta NO, Italy. 

n.b. please use correct postage for Italy and seal envelopes securely.

Enquiries- contact: email: poetryonthelake(at)yahoo.co.uk       tel. mobile (+39)  347 8464227                             




adjudicator: CAROL ANN DUFFY








4 - OUT OF HER FIRE - Llinora Milner, Truro


5 - ORKNEY DIARY/WINTER SOLSTICE, Lizzie Fincham, Haywards Heath


"Apart from those 5 I have another 28 poems which I very much liked" (C.A.Duffy)

AT VARALLO/ (HIGHLY COMMENDED)Christopher North, Alicante, Spain  

(in random order)

SEA CHILDREN, Enda Coyle-Greene, Skerries, Ireland  

AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL Alessio Zanelli, Cremona Italy


THE VINE, Alwyn Marriage, Guilford

BANK, Pat Borthwick, Yorks

ONLY PESTS, Jonathan Hope, Bath  

MAPPING THE RIVER, Ainie Lyons, Tallaght, Ireland

SABRINA, Michael Woods, Barbourne

FORTY TWO YEARS ON, June English, Kent

GULL, Christopher North, Alicante

EUROSTAR, Christopher North


THE BEATLES AT ARDWICK, Robert Hawley, Skipton, Yorkshire

SILVER JUBILEE, Katrina Naomi, London

MEANING IS USE, Anthony Cropper, West Stockwith




IN FEN LIGHT, Pat Borthwick

SUNFLOWERS, Michael Woods

LITTLE BRIDES , Maurice Franceschi

THE DAY OF DUST Christopher North

OCTOBER, Thelma Laycock, Leeds

TORSA, Patricia Ace, Crieff, Scotland  

SEA GLASS, Sharon Black, Gardoussel, France


IN JIM EDE'S HOUSE, Lydia Macpherson, Cambridge




Judge’s report:

  I read the whole lot very carefully and several times to give everyone a fair chance given the mutability of mood and reading... and these stood the test.  


The Trades Wayne Price, Aberdeen


Highly Commended 

Ramallah Brian F. Docherty, Londonbb

Forbidden Flesh Mary Dennis, Wellington, New Zealand

At the end of the day... Roger Elkin, Stoke on Trent

Chance Meeting Carole Bromley, York

Pacific to Pond Deborah Harvey, Bristol

My Father Winds the Grandfather Clock – Julie Mellor, York

Jigsaw –Jane Mosse, Guernsey



Upper Bosom Terence Moore, Cambridge

The Dead Victoria Field, Falmouth


  Overall these make a nice and varied selection as to mood, subject, humour etc...The Trades was the clear winner, the next seven could have been shaken around... Upper Bosom made me laugh - a titty ditty - and The Dead is universal and touching.

Kevin Bailey

Kevin Bailey is editor of the international literary journal HQ Poetry Magazine, founded by him in 1990, and is advisor to Poetry on the Lake. His collection Surviving Love was published by bluechrome in 2005.


Formal Competition

Judge’s report

  The trouble with judging formal poems is that they all reach a certain level of competence. Generally, if you are judging a bread-and-butter poetry competition you can rule out a large number of poems after a first read-through; the ones written on toilet paper (I’m not joking) by the green-ink brigade, the poems that make no sense at all, the ‘experimental’ ones, the ones written by dyslexics who have never heard of a spell-check.

  But here we have sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, sestinas and the like, pretty well all of them competent, where spelling and punctuation errors are rare –though I did have one ‘it’s’ for ‘its’, which I decided to treat as a mistyping. I actually have to read EVERY poem carefully. And then again. And possibly again.


  In my opinion most sestinas are more fun to write than to read.  Auden did good ones and I once wrote one that was OK though I have to say it never won a competition.  If somebody did a RHYMING sestina, and yes, it has been done, I would be tempted to give it a prize. But nobody did.

  And villanelles only work if the repeated lines are very strong. After all, you are going to have to read each of them four times. For my money William Empson was the king of the villanelle. Listen to these repeated lines.


No man is sure he does not need to climb. 

A girl can’t go on laughing all the time


Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.  

The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.


With lines like that, from ‘A Reflection of Anita Loos’ and ‘Missing Dates’, you can’t really go wrong.  Too many villanelles are simply exercises, well done but no more than that – like a watercolourist on an off day.  


After this, you will not be surprised to learn that I picked two sonnets, a pantoum and a rondel. They were all good. In the end I preferred the sonnets. One had what I thought was a clunky line (line 12); the other did the it’s thing, but I forgave it and thus I picked out a winner and a runner-up:



Fade Away Ann Gray, Cornwall


Her First Lesson in Sign Language Don Nixon, Albrighton

These were both very fine poems. 


Highly Commended

Ageing and James (February – May 1990, two poems by Stella M.Barnes, Kirkby-in-Furness

These, too, had much to commend them. 

The three (only two actually, ed.) unsuccessful poets should try their luck elsewhere.   


John Whitworth

John Whitworth (poet, teacher, editor, competition judge, broadcaster, prize-winner) has had eight books of poetry published with a ninth pending, and has written an inspired book, "Writing Poetry", published by A&C Black. John has won prizes for his poetry and short stories (Peterloo, Middlesex University and Poetry on the Lake in Italy). His awards include the Cholmondeley Award and the Alice Hunt Bartlett award of the Poetry Society. He has judged many poetry competitions including the National Poetry Competition. 



Silver Wyvern : theme 'Elemental' ,interpret  as wished, max. 60 lines

Formal verse: open theme, max. 40 lines.

Short poems: open theme, max. 10 linesNew: Camelia prize sponsored by the boutique in Piazza Ragazzoni

"Per te da Orta"


No entry form required.  Send (check postal rates for Italy!) 2 copies of each poem ( poems should be unpublished and never won a previous prize), mark category top right; one copy anonymous, other  with contact details and, possibly, email address.

Fee: first poem £5; then £4;  Euro/dollars: 10 for 1 or 2 poems ;then 5 per poem. 
UK/Irish/Italian cheques or postal orders payable to
G.Griffin-Hall and CROSSED (Italian marked Non trasferibile).
Other countries: cash – notes only,  safer wrapped in metallic foil. Use Pritt or similar to stick down envelope, easy self-adhesive envelopes are also easy to open en route!


The same poem may be entered in two or more categories but will count each time as a separate entry.
Results email or send 2 E (50p UK, or €0,65 Italian) loose stamps or 2 IRCs.

Possible publication with Italian translation facing for selected poems (we try to contact all authors first for permission although entry to the competition implies automatically permission to publish). Copyright remains with the author.   

Results June/July.


SEND TO: Poetry onthe Lake, Isola San Giulio, 28016 Orta NO, Italy.

Enquiries email: poetryonthelake(at)yahoo.co.uk  




Silver Wyvern judged by Jo Shapcott

Judge's report

The competition entries for Poetry on the Lake spilled out of the parcel in a bright, shimmering pile.  All shades of reds, blues, greens and yellows were there; a few greys and blacks; some poems infused with whole rainbows.  For the theme of the competition was colour and the entrants responded with the full palette.  Gradually, the winners emerged: in fourth place‘Tangled up in Blue’ with its wonderfully understated sensuality; third, ‘Colouring In’ whooshing us back into the language and concerns of childhood; second, ‘Red Rose’ a poem which makes its narrative glow and spit above the darker emotional undertow;  and in first place ‘Slave Ship’, a beautifully made and considered poem, and at the same time frighteningly charged, powerfully revealing.  A fine set of commended poems make worthy runners-up, and the whole group is a wonderful read, a small anthology of glowing poems.




1.  Slave Ship - Caroline Carver, Flushing, Cornwall 
Red Rose - Charles Evans, London   
3. Colouring In - Peter Wyton, Gloucester 
Tangled up in blue - E.C. O’Leary, Glasgow, Scotland

Commendations (in random order)

What my heart is like  - Victoria Field, Falmouth, Cornwall 
Taxonomy of Famine Diseases - Roger Elkin, Stoke-on-Trent 
Myth in Monocolour  - Sue Kindon, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria 
Pietra Dura  - Chris Considine, Richmond, Yorkshire 
Chambre d'Amour - Susi Clare, Travedona Monate (VA)

That Very Yellow Knight - Gillian Nicholson, London 
one pink heart - Mario Petrucci, Enfield
Flame - Emma Harding, Tonbridge, Kent 
The Tile Maker - Clare Crossman, Royston, Hertfordshire 
In the Dark - Paul Mcloughlin,  Hounslow, Middlesex


Short Poems, report by Penelope Shuttle


Judging the competition was both exhilarating and problematical, because the standard of entries was extremely high. Perhaps having that ten line limit enabled the poets to find creative solutions to working within those limits, so there was no room to be over-explanatory or to lay on the adjectives with a trowel!

Because of the overall high standard I had to make some hard choices. But eventually I pared the entries down to a shortlist, and then put it to one side for a while, returning with fresh eyes. On returning to read the shortlisted poems the winners stepped forward, as did the highly-commended poems. It has been a real privilege reading these poems. My thanks to everyone and many congratulations all round!


Prize Winner

Tubes - Chris Preddle    Holmfirth


Runners Up           

Stone - Tessa West,  Glemsford, Sudbury

Name  Jerm Curtin, Lugo, Spain

Steel -Cath Nichols, Warrington, Cheshire


Commendations (in random order)                    

St Valentine's Day at the Seuss Glacier - Dilys Wood, London                

Blue -Elisabeth Rowe, Yelverton, Devon

A conversation in the crypt of the chapel of St. Iffy, patron saint of the unvisited -  David King, Salisbury

Niagara -Victoria Field

Merman - Sarah McGarry

The Body - Kass Boucher, Basingstoke, Hampshire

Home, where a thousand books wait under my bed - Mavis Howard, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

As if Water Can Hold Light - Denise MvSheehy, Totnes

Sub Lingual - June English,Ripple, Kent 

Brink - Maggie Sawkins, Southsea, Hampshire                                              

Environmental - June English, Ripple, Kent

Woken by Rain - Wayne Price, Aberdeen, Scotland

That Clio - Carole Bromley, York  


Formal Verse  Report by Michael Swan


The beginning was easy. I discarded those poems which had no detectable formal element at all, or which were ‘formal’ only in a window-dressing sense: free verse doesn’t acquire poetic form because it’s broken into stanzas, rhymes twice, or is centred prettily on the page. That left the more difficult but enjoyable task of reading, rereading and assessing eighty-odd genuinely formal poems. There were villanelles (easy to write, hard to write well), sestinas (hard to write, very hard to write well), sonnets, ottava rima, rondeaux redoublés, ballades, and poems with less conventional formal frameworks. After eliminating some because they simply weren’t very good, and others because of the odd weakness of form or content, I was left with a longish shortlist of thirty or so really good poems. From these, two finally emerged that I felt were outstanding, and two others that ran them close.


First prize: ‘Christingle’ by Vivienne Treganza (Penzance). The villanelle form is handled expertly, with considerable rhythmic subtlety, and underpins perfectly the multiple imagery: church, children and ghosts breathing together; scent, sound and light merging. It could have been sentimental, but isn’t at all. A beautiful and touching poem.


Second prize: ‘Ellen Terry Becomes Lady Macbeth’ by Margaret Eddershaw (Nafplion, Greece). This is a quite cerebral poem, thoughtfully and interestingly following the transformation of the actress into her character, while cleverly exploiting the sestina’s built-in repetitions to cut backwards and forwards between the dressing-room preparations and the content of the play. A real tour de force.


Commendations: ‘You are a man of islands and the sea’ by Chris Considine (Richmond, N. Yorks), a beautifully realised and moving sonnet; and ‘Fuckin Love’ by Charles Evans (London), an engaging and strikingly original poem written in the voice of a biker.



Walking Home – Margaret Wilmot, Selmeston, East Sussex

Blissfully Barefoot– Sarah Doyle, London

King Socrates – Chris Preddle, Holmfirth  

The Planting - Julie-ann Rowell, Totnes, Devon                       

The Seafarer's Return - Oz Hardwick, York                             

Lamorna's Winter Solstice – Vivienne Tregenza , Penzance       

The Undertaker's Lament – Elisabeth Rowe, Yelverton, Devon     

The Builders - A.C. Clarke, Glasgow, Scotland

Evolution at the Natural History Museum – A.C.Clarke, Glasgow, Scotland




© 2007 Gabriel Griffin-Hall

Poetry on the Lake

Isola San Giulio