Guest Post by Lauren Davison
The Oakwood Literature Festival spring 2022 poetry competition is now open for submissions!Whether you’re a poetry fanatic, or have never tried writing it before, why not give it a go? With no entry fee, it’s a great opportunity to practice and develop your poetry. Not only will it give you experience of submitting your work to competitions, but you’re in with a chance of winning some wonderful prizes.
So, what exactly do you need to know?
- Poems have a line limit of up to 30, but it can be less.
- The closing date for submissions is the 23rd of March at 11.30 pm.
- Work is to be submitted online via our website.
- Applicants must be eighteen years or over, and we can only accept one entry per person.
- Your work should be completely original, and not submitted or published on other platforms, including social media and blogs.
- You have a choice of two titles: ‘Memories of Lockdown,’ or ‘The Platinum Jubilee: a time to celebrate.’ Whichever direction you choose to take, please ensure there is no swearing, and that you maintain a family-friendly approach throughout your poem, as the winning entry will be published on our website.
The winner will also receive the following:
- A free copy of Becky Dean’s poetry collection, Un(in)formed.
- A free copy of Charlotte Lunn’s poetry collection, Metamorphosis.
- A free ticket for Charlotte’s poetry workshop on the 23rd of April, starting at 1pm.
- A £20 National BookVoucher (valid in participating bookshops).
- An Oakwood Literature Festival Winners’ certificate, signed by the committee.
Our judges for the competition are published poets, Charlotte Lunn and Becky Deans, and the winner will be contacted by the 8th of April. Full terms and conditions can be found here.
So, why poetry?
‘I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.’
Poetry is an adventure. You might not even know what your poem is about when you’re writing it. But, as Robert Frost tells us, poetry can be a form of discovery.
While the words we use every day might not seem extraordinary, poetry opens us up to new possibilities with our words. It encourages us to explore the richness of language. From imagery and metaphor, to rhyme and verse, words take on a new power.
The power of poetic devices
Poetry has a long-standing association with imagery. The images poetry generates can not only be striking, but also have the potential to be enlightening too. Sometimes, framing experiences in these kinds of poetic images, makes things easier to digest. Devices such as metaphor, can feel like a less threatening away to explore ourselves, our emotions and experiences. This can result in writing which carries a spark of extra personal value.
Through poetry’s close relationship with imagery and metaphor, personally illuminating images can be generated. As our words weave themselves onto the page, as lines spring to life, we can unlock feelings we didn’t know were within us, unknowns can become suddenly visible. After writing, we can reflect and consider what these images mean to us, at our own pace. We can learn things about ourselves.
Not only are poetic devices avenues for creativity, but they can also be amazingly therapeutic too.
Poetry can also offer us a form of guidance, with some of the associated structural conventions, and rules.
Take the three lines, and 17 syllables of a haiku for example. A sense of direction can feel comforting in the realm of creative writing, where the endless possibilities can be tricky to navigate sometimes. Working within certain poetic constraints, cannot only offer us a foundation to work from, but the succinctness of it, can lead to a greater sense of clarity as well.
Has our competition inspired you to write more poetry? Would you like to learn more? Then be sure to come along to our poetry workshop, part of our Literature Festival on the 23rd of April. The Beauty of Spring Poetry Workshop will be run by published poet, bookseller and workshop facilitator Charlotte Lunn. Join her from 1pm until 2-50pm, to reflect on the theme of new beginnings and growth. By the end of the session, you’ll have a collection of material at your disposal to take forward in your writing journey. Further details and tickets can be found here. We hope to see you there!
Tim Metcalf’s comparison of writing poetry to playing Scrabble, is particularly memorable. It’s all about experimenting until you find the words that fit.
With poetry, comes a world of exciting possibility. Whatever kind of poem you have in mind, from a sonnet to haiku, our competition is a great chance to engage with your inner poet, and have people read your words. Most importantly, have fun and let those creative juices flow!
Lauren Davison is a BA Creative and Professional Writing with English graduate, currently studying for an MA at the University of Derby. She is Staff Blog Writer for Derbyshire Writing School, and enjoys experimenting with fiction and non-fiction in her writing.
She has contributed to student anthologies, in She, Her, We, and Love & Life Eternal, and has written for the Sci-fi and Fantasy Network.
Her goals include writing a book on how writing can be a powerful tool for mental health, which she is developing as part of her Independent Project for her MA. You can find her on Twitter