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If you click on any of the fragments below, you will be winged to the longer page…..

Among the many big hitters on my desk, however, too many of today’s poems  are like ducklings on a motorway. They are not going to survive.

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Poems have a huge number of ways to render compelling accounts of the moment while simultaneously speaking to us at the much deeper level where language has a tendency to fail.

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The reader mustn’t feel either that thirty one ways to look at a blackbird would have been quite enough.  Or that the blackbird is wretched  without another seventeen.

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You just have to go deeper into the well of truth inside yourself to find out what it is you want to say.

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Reading too many poems, at speed, too judgmentally, you have to be very careful not to miss the living voice.  But you also have to be careful not to miss the quiet subtleties of the deliberately crafted music which will carry a poem brilliantly in live performance, but which may have been designed to whisper rather than to flaunt itself too loudly from the page.

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The Torbay Competition does not have a sift. 

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“There is, of course, no formula: what works, works.” LAWRENCE SAIL

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This one just stayed with me.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Really good poems – particularly good short poems – haunt you.  You know that the first reading is the beginning of something, not the end.

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I hope that no poem will slip through my net on grounds of subject, or because it seems to me to be of a certain kind, rather than because it fails to make something special out of the kind of poem that it is.

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