Day Fourteen: Judging Torbay

One of the great and abiding delights of ‘small’ poems is the discovery that we and a poet are making similar stumbling pathways through similarly problematic little worlds.  I am using the idea of a ‘small’ poem in the sense of unambitious in the scope of its chosen subject. Small is absolutely not pejorative, nor […]

Day Nine: Judging Torbay

I have spent the past three days on my second trawl through the Torbay submissions pile.  Three hundred and fifty poems survived the first read-through and found themselves in the generous fat folder  called ‘the possibles’.  Meaning that it was possible they would find themselves on the shortlist – if they were among the twenty […]

Day Six: Judging Torbay

If a poem is telling the truth, it will ring true… but only if its author really listens to what the poem wants to say. Three momentous events are featuring quite regularly in the Torbay submissions pile. The First World War, unsurprisingly, since we are currently living through the years of its centenary.  The migrant […]

Day Two: Judging Torbay

Melancholy, but inevitable day…. I have been doing my first read-through to discover the imaginary line which divides the Torbay poems which might make the eventual shortlist from the poems which will not. I am being generous at this stage, of course, determined not to overlook a poem which deserves more admiration than I gave […]

Day One: Judging Torbay

Nine hundred poems on my desk.  What if one of them blindsides me?  What if I let a work of breathtaking excellence pass me by?  What if I am THE TORBAY FESTIVAL COMPETITION JUDGE WHO FAILED TO SPOT THE FUTURE WINNER OF THE FORWARD PRIZE?  At the start of the first day’s judging, that terror […]