Here is the third instalment of the judges’ views on the listed poems which were performed in the Elwin Room on Saturday 26th September 2015.
Annie Fisher : The Innocents
The judges said: We liked the restrained approach to good and evil in The Innocents. This opened avenues of thought and imagination without dictating what the listeners’ conclusions ought to be. A poem of apparent simplicity, rich in possibilities.
Louise Green : Sieste with Jean Gabriel
This poem comes from a sequence about real and imagined lives in rural France in the last century. The sonnet, with its ‘turn’, seemed right for this rather unusual subject. The Cafe judges said: ‘Sieste’ is an artful, seductive, challenging poem, full of surprises and shocks. We liked the way the bucolic jostles the gothic and also the way that the unexpected ending forces you to reread, hunting for the clues which this skilful writer might have left half-hidden in the lines.
Caroline Heaton : Guinevere’s Gown
The judges said: The words are beautifully chosen. The poem’s incantatory quality and formal mastery create an entirely convincing and enticing universe.
Rosie Jackson : John Donne Arriving in Heaven
This is a composite of various sources: the title comes from a painting by Stanley Spencer, some of the ideas are from Donne’s poems and sermons, while the final section is filtered through my own spiritual beliefs, prominent because I wrote this while on retreat in India. The Cafe judges said: We liked the way the poet’s command of both subject matter and language are crafted together to make a poem that is dazzlingly new.