A weird thing happened to me this week. I got an email from Fish Publishing saying my entry had got second place in the Pocket Prose category of the Lockdown Prize, an international writing competition on the theme of the Coronavirus-induced lockdown. Then I got another email saying it was actually second in another category, Breakout, for entries over the 100 word limit.
Whatever they want to call it, I was proud, excited and in a state of disbelief that my poem/prose poem/breakout flash thingie had done so well. I’ve been chipping away at the art of poetry for years, in between writing novels and short stories. While I’ve had some poems published, none of them have ever been placed in a competition. So this result means a lot to me.
My piece is called ‘Lost Connection’. I wrote it early (for me that is) one morning in the kitchen while sunlight dappled the kitchen walls and the huge horse chestnut at the end of our garden was coming into bloom. I’ve been known to complain about the tree’s copious leaves when sweeping them up for months every autumn, but now I can give thanks to it for providing inspiration!
I think I’m allowed to copy my entry here. Check out the Best Poems and Pocket Prose page of the Fish Publishing website for the rest of it, and many other varied poems and short prose responding to ‘lockdown’ around the world.
One of my favourites is ‘Lockdown’, a rap-style poem by Geoff Burnes – I hope he doesn’t mind me showing some of it here.
The prize raised over 4k Euros for Oxfam’s Cornonavirus appeal.
The only thing I’m sad about is not being able to go to the West Cork Literary Festival to read the poem. It’s been cancelled this year, of course due to lockdown rules – in a ‘normal’ year all those writers placed in Fish Publishing competitions would have been invited. That would have been so special, given my family connection to the area – my mother was born in County Cork and my grandfather lived in Cobh.
So, let’s all keep on keeping on. Even if you’re feeling despondent and nothing seems to be happening, you never know what’s around the corner…