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Commended Poet Shock in National

So the first, second and third place winners of the National Poetry Competition have been announced. You can read them here.

I for one don't feel ready to comment on the quality and deservedness of these winning poems just yet (competitions are so much luck, especially the National and the undoubtedly high standard of many of its entries), but something interesting has turned up of late: word is that a lot of fuss is being made behind the scenes at the Poetry Society over one of the commendations.

This is down to former PM Tony Blair having apparently entered the competition and having been anonymously judged as a commended poet.

The problem apparently stems from his poem's contents, smearing certain current cabinet members and revealing some incredible truths about his time in office.

Of course, this recalls the recent story of the mysterious versifier at Downing Street, though one would hope that the quality of Blair's poem is greater than that of the doggerel 'upon the stair'...

With regard to Blair's verse, then, it is suspected that the judges thought that the poem was by another author and hence written in a witty, postmodern, Luke Kennard-esque style. So at least that bodes well for its overall quality. The realisation that the poem was written by Blair, however, revealed a darker, more truthful and disturbingly confessional side to it.

Whether or not Blair's poem will actually be commended remains to be seen, of course, but I among many others will be very interested to read it.


Anonymous said…
He wrote it in 45 minutes, apparently. One curious thing about it is that it's called Sonnet but it's not a sonnet. The other thing is that each entry to these comps at the final stage now has to have the first lines googled to safeguard against prior publication and plagiarist entries etc've guessed (allegedly) bore some resemblance to a section of a 1993 Ph.d thesis on Jason and the Argonauts.
Rob said…
Nice one, Ben!

I must admit, I was pleased to see Sinead Morrissey won, and with a very good poem. She's an excellent writer.

Is there any truth in the rumour that David Cameron entered a Gangsta Rap double villanelle?
Unknown said…
Dear Lord - does this mean that we haven't long to wait for dear oul Bertie, this side of the Irish stream to write 'sumthin' fur me oul pals' being known mostly for his spectacularly liberal use of 'Dis, Dat, Dese and Dose.'

Considering that his daughter is already a published author in the No 1 Fiction slots here, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Katy Murr said…
I like choice of accompanying photo to go with this post. Very interesting indeed - gossip never fails to surprise! ;)

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