Friday, November 23, 2012

Magma Competition 2012


Louise Brooks.
No connection to the post, just a fascinating image!

Magma Poetry Magazine has a different editor for every issue, and is well worth checking out. There are two prizes and a few weeks to the deadline...

Magma Judge’s Prize
For a poem of 11 to 80 lines. All poem entries of 11 to 80 lines will be entered for the Judge’s Prize which this year will be judged by award-winning poet Gillian Clarke. First Prize £500, Second £200, Third £100

Magma Editors’ Prize
This celebrates the short poem and is open to poems of up to 10 lines. First prize £500, Second £200, Plus 10 Special Mentions £10 each. All 15 winners will have their poems published in our Spring Issue 2013 and be invited to read alongside Gillian Clarke at Magma’s prize-giving event early next year.

Competition Entry Period: 16 October 2012 to 16 December 2012
 Your poem(s) will need to be attached in a Word document.  Once you have completed the entry form and attached your poems you will be directed to make your secure online payment via PayPal or by credit card.  Click here to complete online entry form Entries are also welcome by post until 16 December

Postal entry forms can be downloaded here.
Fees: £5 per poem or £15 for four poems

Full Rules for the Competition are found here.

Some words from the judge:
'I will read the poems in the shortening days, light fading as it does this November afternoon until I must switch on the light to continue. As always, the poems will drift into three piles on the table: Yes, No, and Maybe. The ‘No’s form by far the biggest pile. ‘Maybe’ makes the medium pile. A quiet ‘maybe’ can sometimes move at subsequent readings to the ‘yes’ pile, and even win. A ‘no’ never wins. In the ‘yes’ pile, smallest of all, every poem rings true and sings with a distinct voice. Any one of them might win. The ‘no’ category is the easiest to decide.  Something in the language from the very first line fails to convince, the use of a clichĂ©, an archaism, a false note, an over-elaboration, an abstraction, is the instant decider. It is often clear that this is the first poem the author has ever written. Sometimes, possessed by powerful emotion, the writer imagines that is enough. However sad the autobiography or passionate the love, a poem without the music and truth of a real poet’s voice is strangely un-moving. It is not its author’s pain or passion that moves us, but the language that carries it, the cadence. We are moved by the way language itself moves.

I was recently called upon to respond briefly to a comparison between the poetry of Wilfred Owen and a new anthology of verse by soldiers and their families written today. Although I believe that we all have something to say, and that poetry is for everyone, I must admit the verse in the anthology was rarely close to being poetry.  Sincerity is not enough. Although the soldiers’ pain was real, not a line remained to sing in the mind. Owen’s words, read once, are unforgettable almost a century after he wrote them. He was to die days before the war ended, but it is not his tragedy that endures but his poetry. Like soldiers today, his experience of war was real and raw, but his rage, his pain, his pity and his love live in the voice of his poetry.

In a competition judge’s ‘yes’ pile are poems with that special quality, the poet’s ‘voice’. They ring true and the reader is at once convinced. It’s like taste, where sweet, savoury, salt or sour create an instant, physical response. You don’t have to be a poet to recognise it. Your mind knows it for the real thing, and will not let it go.'

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