"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Friday, March 25, 2011

Strokestown results announced

Thanks to Martin Parker for his commiserations on my complete absence of success in the main Strokestown Poetry prize this year, the shortlist of which has just been announced.
I had submitted two really strong poems, which I was sure would have the judges beating paths to my front door to congratulate me on my poetical ability. These were my knock-dead thump in the gut poems that I had saved for months to submit to Strokestown.
Sadly, not only does my name not appear among the ten chosen few but neither of the poem's titles features in the rather extensive list of also-rans and nearly-not-quite-made-its. Oh dear, a hefty dose of reality.
The thing that jumps out in the list is the fact that nine of the shortlisters are from England. The other is from California. Not only does this not give us a chance to cheer on the local boy (or girl) but it makes you wonder at the state of Irish poetry. On the other hand, I recognise a few of those names as poetry judges in their own right and as such, they would have a good insight into what judges look for in a poem. Me, I still don't know what constitutes a good poem - I only know what I like myself.
In a strange way, the bizarre geographical spread (or lack of it) validates the competition, I think. If any other criteria of judging had been used apart from poetical worth, then you wouldn't have had such a one-sided result. I just hope we (and I'm secretly using the royal 'we' here) are able to fight back next year.
The humorous verse results haven't been announced yet. The more I think about my own submissions, the less confident I feel of making the cut there too. Oh well, I'll say the locals will be glad of the chance not to listen to me this year!


  1. at first i thought i was reading the shortlist wrong with the lack of irish people on it. i didnt submit this year, like you im tired of forking out big money for something, that not only will i not win but i'll more than likely not even be listed for. is it an attempt to show that ireland's literary 'scene' isn't incestuous?

  2. Hi Niamh, For me, entering for the main prize at Strokestown is like buying a lottery ticket when the jackpot goes over 10 million - you know you haven't a hope but a little voice says 'imagine...'
    I'm not sure its an attempt to do anything. The three judges read all the poems anonymously - they select their shortlists, come together one weekend and hammer out the final shoertlist. All anonymously. I think that's just the way things panned out this year.

  3. Balls. Me neither.
    It's a bit weird there's no Irish names. Apparently 4 from the Templar stable show up. The judges must be supping from the same taste box.

  4. The name Elizabeth Rowe rings a bell. Does she win a lot?
    Anyway, it says they only named some of the poems nearly shortlisted.

    But much more importantly, who the hell is the red-haired gorgeous dude with the unlikely name Louis de Paor? I have developed an instantaneous crush on him. Pin-up poets! Whatever next?

  5. Ah,thanks for the info Peter and I share your sorrow! I do have a poem called "in the front room", which is the title of one of the also-rans, but I didn't think I had sent it in! Anyway, I had such a lovely time at Poetry Now and the sun is still shining, so onwards and upwards...