Thank you to everyone who entered the competition this year.

Launched last November, a total of 333 poets entered a total of 769 poems. Our judge, Clare Shaw, has now selected her final shortlist of 75 entries.

York Lit Fest

The poets are competing for a top prize of £600. The runner-up will receive £150, with third and fourth placed poets receiving £75 and £50. Prizes for the best international entry and the best entry from a York postcode will also be awarded.

Winners, Highly Commended and Commended poets will be informed of their success on or before Friday, March 15.

Floating awards ceremony

Setting sail… City Cruises York
The results will be revealed at a prize-giving event aboard a York City Cruises Ouse cruiser on Sunday, March 31, where winners will be invited to read their entries.

A limited number of tickets for the prize-giving event, which will also feature a reading from Clare Shaw, are being made available to the public.

You can book here.

2019 shortlist

Here are the title and the first line from the shortlisted poems.

A female pheasant chooses to cross Plumy Feather Lane
I realise I have written a covey of grouse

A Letter From My Gran To My Grandpa
It’s been a decade or several millennia

A Redundant Church
The gilded cherubs range across the wall

An Admission
I began to come undone in May –

Annaghmakerig
Returning after fifteen years

Back Garden
I can name five birds, five plants (note

Between before and after
Most days, my little sister can run for an hour.

British Citizenship Test
What was inscribed on coins in the Iron Age?

Can You Draw Him For Us
Bea rolls the nose of a ballpoint


Cillin ‘an un-consecrated burial place for unbaptised children and others’
Fathers, at night,

Connections
a dog

Damp In The Basement
She barrowed us to her roots every Saturday

Doing Money
You illegal, he says, fit for nothing, only doing money, you run, they put you in prison

Driving to Much Wenlock
Heady, this rich waft of lanolin blowing

Drought July 2018
Uncap the garden tap. Water’s tinsel-stick

End Of Life
I find myself talking to an elderly woman

Exhibition Catalogue
#1 Our initials drawn on breath-frosted glass

Father and Gandhi
Father arrived with one suitcase and many dreams

From Woodstock To Mametz
The leaping youths in the rain are all old now or dead.

Glacier Mints
Snow drifted waist-high.

Hallowed
More leaving the Chelsea garden forever. More closing the wooden gate to the river.

Highway Maintenance
Last night I took my chisel, fox bone fine,

His Rope
She didn’t speak for three weeks.

Holy Cow
She is folded into our best cotton sheets, laid

Horses
Despite that ocean and the sky I discovered a light

I Am Okay When A Man Does Not Love Me
the man tells me he does not love me.

I blame Instagram
I check my emails

I Saw A UFO
I was eight,

I Think I Still Know How to Fit All the Pieces Together
A man and a girl sit beside each other in a boat

Incantation for a missing sister
If I collect all the things that remind me of you,

It
It was glimpsed for half a second in the headlights

Joan Of Arc
When I was a young girl I took a vow of

leonard cohen’s skin
father is pissing in the corner of my room

Lightning
My father’s head

Like A Wife
Every morning, Coronation cup of Typhoo in hand,

Long Weekend
We woke to snow in the unknown valley

Lullaby
Black swans flocked the tower

Meanwood Park Hospital Songs
Thursday afternoons:

Minutes’ Eclipse
Up the cracked garden path, the moss whispering

my head is my only house unless it rains – Captain Beefheart
I think the earth is literally my mum when it rains

My Life As An Angel
Was remarkably similar to my life as a woman

None Of Us Saw This Coming
Daddy’s got six legs now

Note to Self
The cobbled streets are wet, disconsolate, pushing against the endless tide of solitude

On the Dangers of Deckchairs
I took the Eurostar somewhere,

Painting My Mother
It is saddest when it stops me painting

Paternal
Do what you want, you will anyway,

Patroclus and Achilles
If I liked the touch did it make me

Pearl Daughter
And if I’m to dive, let it be like an Ama woman


Plastic Doll
So thin she melted

Privilege
Boys must be eight years old when they arrive.

Rough
Your bed’s a king-size square of too-thin card,

Self Portrait with Maritime Museum Mermaid, Hull
The plaque reads Early 18th century mermaid.

Skomm
The girl with the goose on her head sits by the window in the corner of the classroom,

Snipe
After the snow

Songs Of Saudi
I am the man in the bathtub, calling you

Strange Fruit II
My Father, taciturn librarian,

Stream
When we arrived at Monk’s House it was the wrong day

Stronger this year
The November winds are back, and you know

The Hard Problem
The head abuts on the hard problem

The Impact of Limited Time
So the lady opposite mentioned

The Pound Shop
Hopeless music winds up the homely tat

The Rib Cage of a Horse
Look at the running horse. Look

The Ring
Her hands snatched necks –

The Silence of the Birthing Hare
I can’t remember crying. I know we

The summer I was fourteen (after Geraldine Connolly)
We spread out the map of London between us

The Wait
The image of a bleach bottle

This Fella Knows Me
I knew a fella who couldn’t stop watching videos of gay guys getting thrown to their deaths by Isis.

This Is What Truth Looks Like
You were 17 & driving your VW Polo

Waiting for rehearsals (Whitby Park)
The backdrop is oak trees with rippled leaves part-lit.

What it Means to be a Man
Dad skins two rabbits in the kitchen sink,

When the Show Must go On
They give me the gown

Where Things Go To Disappear
there is a peacock in the tree it can’t get down its feathers are so blue it makes everyone

Widower
I lie on the carpet whose every twist and turn I have studied

Women’s Voices
How come the dog is at yours?

21.12.17
No gold. They know no cold, hard metal can replace

22 of 48 things to do in playa blanca
Leave behind the calles of white-skinned villas where vines of