The 2017 competition is now closed 

York’s premier poetry competition is back – this time with a new judge.

Award-winning poet Antony Dunn is named as the judge of the 2017 York Literature Festival / YorkMix Poetry Competition.

He takes over from Carole Bromley who judged the first four contests.

The prestigious competition, now in its fifth year, has become a major national literary event, with more than 1,800 poems submitted last year for the £500 first prize.

The closing date is February 28, 2017.

Antony Dunn has published four collections of poetry. His most recent work, Take This One to Bed (Valley Press), was launched last month.

Antony, a regular tutor for The Poetry School and the Arvon Foundation, is a winner of the Newdigate Prize and an Eric Gregory Award. He edited and introduced Ex Libris, a posthumous collection by York-based poet David Hughes.

Entry and prizes
The first prize is £500, with a runner-up award of £125, and a third prize of £75
The York Prize (£50) will be awarded to an excellent poem from an entrant with a York postcode
At the judge’s discretion, up to ten Highly Commended and up to 15 Commended poems will each win their writer a certificate
Read the full rules here

Looking for surprise

A former York resident, Antony now lives in Leeds. He has been Poet in Residence at the University of York and the Ilkley Literature Festival. He is Artistic Director of Bridlington Poetry Festival.

He told YorkMix: “I’m excited to be judging this year’s competition, if a bit apprehensive. As I will be reading through what I’m told is likely to be more than 1,500 poems.”

We asked Antony what he will be looking for in the entries.

I’m looking to be surprised somehow. To stand out, a winning poem is going to have to reveal its own urgency, to demonstrate that it simply had to be written.

I’ve no bias at all as to rhyme or form, but both can be trip-hazards.

Make me laugh, make me cry, leave me in an existential crisis – I don’t mind. Please don’t be mawkish, sentimental, pretentious, dishonest or – worst of all – boring.

Whatever their subject, subtext and substance, I want your submissions to be infectious – with the sheer delight of words and sounds and white space combining to become poems.

Antony’s influences

Simon Armitage is top of Antony's list. Photograph: Gareth Phillips

Simon Armitage is top of Antony’s list. Photograph: Gareth Phillips

Which poets have influenced him? “Too many to write an exhaustive list, but Simon Armitage is top of it,” he said.

Edward Thomas, Norman MacCaig, Bernard O’Donoghue, Kathleen Jamie and Carol Ann Duffy were others on his list.

“But now I’m feeling bad about all the people I’m not naming, so I’ll stop there.

“But, among my peers, I’ve a very long friendship with Matthew Hollis, who’s been an important influence on my poems, and has effectively been my editor since 1999, for which I’m eternally grateful.”

 The 2017 competition is now closed 

David Nicholson

David Nicholson

Fleet Street veteran & YorkMix editor-at-large, Dave Nick is a former editor of the Press (when it was the Yorkshire Evening Press). Loves music, poetry and York City FC