Aval-Ballan Poetry Competition and other news

by Marie Marshall

Just letting you all know that the results of the Aval-Ballan Poetry Competition are now published. You can see them here.

I don’t know if any of you out there has been involved in judging a poetry competition. It’s not as easy as it sounds, even for a poetry editor like myself. Differentiating between the poems in a long list of about one hundred with a view to making them into a shortlist of thirty is hard enough. Whittling that shortlist to twelve winners is damn tough, particularly as it involves negotiating with other judges. Picking a winner from that short-shortlist is almost impossible, particularly when, as I said when asked, “I can’t get a ciggie paper between the first five or so”.

Having made a decision I then sat back and began to feel like a poet. I have had a lot of poetry published, and even more poetry rejected by publishers – that’s the way it goes. Nothing is going to stop the unsuccessful entrants from being disappointed. Nevertheless I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world.


Atlantean Publishing were kind enough to carry a notice in the  July issue of their newsletter, The Supplement, advertising my 2013 collection I am not a fish. The notice also included one of the shorter poems in the collection…

Mr Coelacanth’s nightmare

Mr Coelacanth’s recurring nightmare
is that he is before a committee of hungry cats
who ask him the question, Are you now,
or have you ever been, a fish?

Never, he replies,
trying not to speak in bubbles,
trying hard not to let words
like gill and dorsal enter his mind

simon-williams-150x150Some of my other poetry from this book was featured at the ‘Oversteps Day‘,  Saturday 13th July, at Dartington Ways With Words Festival, read by Simon Williams, as part of the ‘A toast to absent friends’ event. Thanks, Simon, for ‘charming’ the audience on my behalf – much appreciated.