The poetry of battered moons

12 May

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Swindon’s poetry competition, just turned national, attracted 300 entries. And has a great title.

Winners and commendeds came from across the country to the celebratory event at the Swindon Festival of Literature last night, held at the Swindon Art Gallery and Museum. It was judged and special guested by well-regarded poet Michael Symmons Roberts, with lovely Spanish guitaring by Robert Jacks and uplifting songs by Serene Boulton…


It was all just a bit, well, quiet.

I don’t know. I like a bit of showbiz. Not the silly extremes of vote-athons like X Factor where they take 5 minutes and an ad break to reveal the winners. But, more of a performance. More anticipation. More excitement.

Perhaps the mood of the event was in keeping with Michael’s Comment in the back of the Battered Moons 2012 booklet. He quotes poet Ted Hughes: poetry should be ‘stripped to the functional minimum’. And maybe (because he’s a university lecturer?) it was like presenting homework. “I was looking for evidence of deep and wide reading” he said of his judging criteria.

Perhaps poetry does need to be lean and ‘every word should earn its keep’, but when it’s performed or recited, razzmatazz has its place.

Anyway, what do I know? At least three poets (me included) were inspired enough to be scribbling into ever present note books. My poem has a working title of ‘A Stanza can’t Cause Cancer’. And, yes, I’m sacrificing grammar on the altar of alliteration.

To see the winning poets, check out the website and the full gallery on

4 Responses to “The poetry of battered moons”

  1. David Lukens 18th May 2012 at 8:47 am #

    You have mixed up the photos of David Lukens and Euan Tait!

    • Festival Chronicler 19th May 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Ah, yes, Euan noticed that too. All sorted out now.

  2. cristinanewtonCristina Newton 31st May 2012 at 10:42 am #

    If there was a lack of ‘razzmatazz’ at the event and drumming up a stir, I take responsibility as host and organiser.

    There was plenty of interest in the poems themselves. Admittedly, this was not a slam or a ‘performance’ poetry event, and therefore is not likely to take on the theatrical pizzazz of such. The character of the poems called for an atmosphere where they could be appreciated for what they are.

    Was the poetry good or not? I would like to read about the poems. That was what Battered Moons celebrated and was about, in the orbit of less bang-fizz pyrotechnics, more subtly moxie, deeper zing.

    Many appreciated -and commented- on this, and on the fact that it was a friendly, warm encounter where people felt welcome, comfortable and connected.


    • Festival Chronicler 31st May 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Cristina. Depends what you like, I guess.

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