Ivor Steven was formerly an Industrial Chemist, then a Plumber, and has been writing poetry for 19 years. His book “Tullawalla” was recently published. He has had numerous poems published in anthologies, and on-line magazines. He is an active member of the Geelong Writers Inc.(Australia), and is a team member/barista with the on-line magazine “Go Dog Go Cafe” (America)
The results are in! Judge Nick Reeves, had a hard job arriving at his decision. But decide he did, and so I hand over to Nick to bring you the results of the final EIF Poetry Challenge of 2020: Season’s greetings one and all! It has been an honour (and a challenge!) to be able to judge the 12th EIF Poetry Challenge of 2020. The subject being The Poetry of Childhood. The response has been so overwhelming that picking an overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place from all of the poems struck me (as the week progressed and my inbox buckled) as an impossible task! The young poets, of whom there were many, who deserve a special mention are as follows…
Rollercoasters go so fast. Around the loop the loop around you go very fast yes very fast. And you go so high like a bird in the sky. Yes yes yes you’re the best fun ride of all!
Rollercoasters is a wonderfully visual, frenetic piece of work that can barely contain its joy and excitement! It sparks with a surprisingly bright energy for such a compact poem. What draws the eye immediately is the skilful wordplay and movement of the second line – Around the loop/the loop around. This skilful play is continued in the 3rd line where the affirmative ‘yes’ is balanced at the centre of the blurring and repeated ‘very fast’! Quite dizzying!
‘Sprinkle and Twinkle’ by Mason, 8 years old
Sprinkle and Twinkle Glitter and Gold On Christmas Eve I’m not going to get cold. On Christmas day I’m going to rush down So lively and quick Hoping for presents from St. Nick.
Such immediacy again! I have particularly enjoyed the entries from our younger writers this challenge. Sprinkle and Twinkle is a visual poem of place and sensation. It also captures, quite brilliantly, the notion of the passage of time – in itself a very tricky concept to write about. It is a piece that balances the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day at home. The youthfulness shines through in almost every line and the reader cannot help but be drawn into the excitement
‘I’m going to rush down So lively and quick’
I adore the hope evoked in this lovely little poem. Congratulations! Do keep writing! And I hope that Saint Nick delivers!
The fire burns with a bright light In the darkest of nights, the stars shine I open my heart, unveil it with care Everything falls into place, layer by layer Christmas is in the air! I realize, being happy is not too hard As a feeling of joy tingles my heart.
My favorite thing about Christmas? The joy, the vibe, the sense of being alive A merry cheer from someone near A smile from the homeless man sitting by the canal Looking at me with sparkling eyes Are just enough to make my heart smile.
The way my family gets together Making pacts, sticking by one another forever Inhaling the aroma of freshly brewed love Experiencing the warmth of humanity, it holds my heart like a glove. Protecting me from the harsh world, Keeping me safe when I feel lost and alone.
Give without sparing, love without hating Hug without withholding, dance without over-thinking Open your heart, fill it with love There’s darkness, but you are the light that can shine like the sun.
The third piece of work in the young poets section that deserves a special credit is Christmas is in the air (Winter Wonders : Joy). It is surprising and a delight. Immediately, the reader senses the rapid advance of the years (though there is only 5 years difference between this and the earlier selected winning poems). Here we find a young poet pushing against the boundaries of childhood into a mature and thoughtful arena: and triumphs! It is a longer form free-verse piece that succeeds in addressing both childlike and adult qualities. Indeed, there is something old and wise (Dickensian?) in the opening lines that set the scene wonderfully –
The streets are quiet, the weather is cold There’s a tale in my heart, waiting to be told. The fire burns with a bright light
There is a maturity tempered with youthfulness at work/play here in lines such as –
‘The joy, the vibe, the sense of being alive’
‘Hug without withholding, dance without over-thinking’
that I find to be very telling of a young mind discovering its poetic skills: the subtle wordplay, the extended metaphors (‘I open my heart, unveil it with care/Everything falls into place, layer by layer’) and the awareness of those less fortunate. This is an excellent piece of work and I hope to see more from this poet – as I hope to from the writers of Rollercoasters and Sprinkle and Twinkle and, indeed, everyone of our young writers who took up this EIF challenge! Many, many thanks and please, keep writing!
The ‘adult’ section again brought its own difficulties and I realised that my decisions could only be subjective. Bearing this in mind here are my favourite entries…
Ho Ho, there is a child in me splashing in the cool summer sea dreaming of distant alpine trees fluttering like a pretty butterfly in the breeze laughing under moss covered circus marquees and there is that day I sat on Santa’s knee asking for my red-head to be set free wishing her a life of peace and tranquility
When was the last time You heard children Singing in Latin,
Every note clear and sweet, Every vowel in its proper place,
Your gaze transfixed By the unwavering flame Of brass-tipped beeswax?
If you ever again Hear children Singing in Latin,
Will you dare Turn around To see their faces?
What chimed with this piece is the sense of ‘looking back’ and so, ‘returning’ to childhood. It is a skilful and considered poem that evokes the past (Latin!), tradition (the service) without being melancholy. I admire the stillness and the final dare. Bravo!
Wishing you all a magical Christmas!
Once again, many thanks to everyone who got involved. And much love to Ingrid from Experiments In Fiction for her extraordinary effort this year!
What is Nightmare Whispers? It is 3 volumes of short horror stories and dark poetry. It is the collected fears and darkness that lingers just out of the light.
Why is there three volumes? Well that’s because we recieved more quality stories than we had room for in a single volume. It was admittedly us deciding that we wanted to share the stories that were too amazing to refuse.
Where can you get your own copy?
#NIghtmareWhispers PRE-ORDERS ARE HERE! Nightmare Whispers Volume 1: The Darkness Within releases on October 31st 2020, but if you act now you can preorder yourself a copy of the books for the discounted price of $5. #NWTheDarknessWithin #Anthologies #Horror - Pre-Order Here: Www.books2read.com/NWTheDarknessWithin
#NIghtmareWhispers PRE-ORDERS ARE HERE! Nightmare Whispers Volume 2: Madness Echoes releases on October 31st 2020, but if you act now you can preorder yourself a copy of the books for the discounted price of $5. #NWMadnessEchoes #Anthologies #Horror - Pre-Order Here: http://www.books2read.com/NWMadnessEchoes
#NIghtmareWhispers PRE-ORDERS ARE HERE! Nightmare Whispers Volume 3: What Remains releases on October 31st 2020, but if you act now you can preorder yourself a copy of the books for the discounted price of $5. #NWWhatRemains #Anthologies #Horror - Pre-Order Here: http://www.books2read.com/NWWhatRemains