At this very moment, John Burnside, Alice Oswald, and Lee Harwood, the judges of the UK National Poetry Competition, are arguing out their final shortlist from the mound of poems in front of them – not all 9000 or so entries of course – but whatever remains after the sifting process so far.
They’ll settle on 13 poems, and choose a first, second and third from those by the end of this afternoon. The remaining ten will receive commendations. But in a crafty twist this year, “to create an air of excitement, they will keep the order of the winners a secret until the award ceremony on 26 March.”
But good luck to all of you reading this who entered. I sent in some poems, but my chance of picking up anything two years in a row are slim. In fact, I have my doubts that anyone has made the shortlist two years running, although I believe Ros Barber has been short-listed on three separate occasions. One of these days, Ros is bound to win it. It's clearly only a matter of time.