Wolves Lit Fest Poetry Competition 2021

We are delighted to announce the winners of our Wolves Lit Fest poetry competition, as chosen by our judge Liz Berry. For this year’s competition we invited people to send in their thoughts on ‘aspects of love’, and you responded in your hundreds, making this our most successful competition so far (and Liz’s job so much harder!)

Before we list the winners and shortlisted poets, here’s what Liz Berry had to say about her role as competition judge, and what it meant to read so many beautiful and heartfelt poems:

“Writing poems, especially in difficult days, is a beautiful and reviving act. This year has been such a terribly hard one and the fact that so many people have been brave enough to try to write poems about love fills me with joy. The theme for this year’s competition was aspects of love and – bless you – you sent me love in all its glorious forms: love for children and family, beloved partners, landscapes, dogs, even historic narrow boats! There was chaste love, thwarted love, the joys of passion and its loss, deep yearning and grief. Thank you to everyone that took a chance and lit up my days with their work and brave spirit.
In truth, I hate choosing winners when I’m judging a competition. It feels counter to all I love about poetry these days – the community and connection, the sharing and encouraging of creativity. So I try to think of it not as ‘which is best?’ (as who can ever really say that in all certainty?) but which poems would I like to share with you and shine a light on. So here’s some wonderful poems I found in the pile; they shone out to me and I’d like you to enjoy them too…”

The winners.
1st prize: Surya Takes Up Beekeeping Yesha Townsend

2nd prize: Breathe Ben Verinder

3rd prizes: Crab Apple, Late Autumn, John Sewell

Dear Prayer Bone Rachel Goodman

Latency Jessica McKinney

The following poets made it onto the final shortlist, and we heard everyone’s work at a show on Feb 14th:
Arjunan Manuelpillai, Ben Verinder, Carlton Rose, Caroline Griffin, Cath Drake, C.P. Nield, Elena Croitoru, Erin Batchelor, Fathima Zahra, Gaynor Beesley, Jack Emsden, Joanna Johnson, June Palmer, Justina Hart, Ken Evans, Lorraine O’Reilly, Olga Dermott-Bond, Olivia Hodgson, Rachel Burns, Rachel Goodman, Sarah Gibbons, Shaun Hill, Vicky Morris, Victoria Richards, Virginia Astley.