1. Magma Competition celebratory evening at Keats House

    Written by Lisa Kelly at 12:10 pm

    The winners and special mentions of the Magma Poetry Competitions – for the Judge’s Prize and the Editors’ Prize – will be reading their poems at Keats House in Hampstead on Friday 11th March at 7pm, and you can buy your £5 ticket here or pay on the door and join us for a wonderful night of winning poems and a reading by Daljit Nagra, as well as some sparkling refreshments to celebrate.

    For the Judge’s Prize judged by Daljit Nagra:

    First prize goes to Lucy Ingrams for Thinking with Goya’s ‘They Descend Quarrelling’
    Second prize goes to Maya Popa for You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave
    Third prize goes to Soul Patel for Skiing

    For the Editors’ Prize judged by a panel of recent Magma Editors:

    First prize goes to Maggie Smith for Weep Up
    Second prize goes to Paul Bregazzi for Trajectory
    Third prize goes to Barbara Hickson for Succinct

    Daljit Nagra, who had a tough job judging thousands of entries, explained why he settled on Lucy’s poem as the overall winner for the Judge’s Prize: “The poem rises from the personal to a global politics with subtle ease. Given the current prevalence for ekphrastic poems, the approach can often lack freshness yet this poem had me gripped from its lively opening, and existed with an authority that did not depend on knowledge of the painting.”

    Lucy, who scoops £1,000, and has a long history with Magma as a contributor and reader, said she was overjoyed to find out her poem had won.

    “Winning a competition is not at all what you expect when you enter the competition, and since hearing the news, I’ve mainly been wondering, wonderingly, ‘What is it about this particular poem that had the elastic to leap across all the many hurdles of the judging process?’ and realising that perhaps I don’t know as much about the poem as I thought I did? At the same time, I’ve felt very happy that the competition the poem has so mysteriously won is the Magma competition! Magma was the first magazine to publish my poems – for which I always feel grateful, and as though Magma is somehow a ‘poetry home’ to me.”

    Editors’ Prize winner Maggie, who also wins £1,000 for her poem Weep Up, is an Ohio-based poet who teaches at The Ohio State University and cares for her two small children – one of whom inspired the poem. She told Magma her surprise on discovering her success.

    “What wonderful news! I’m just thrilled–and quite surprised–to have won. You’ve made my week, and it’s only Monday.”

    This year’s panel of recent Magma editors was made up of Dom Bury, Susannah Hart, Chris Kerr, Rob Mackenzie and Jon Sayers.   A short poem needs to pack a lot into a few lines, and so the panel was particularly impressed with poems that were able to convey real depth of experience or emotion within the 10-line limit.  Maggie Smith’s Weep Up stood out for its lyricism, deft use of language and delicacy of touch.  Our second prize winner, Paul Bregazzi’s Trajectory, is a very skilfully achieved concrete poem, and our third prize winner, Succinct by Barbara Hickson, is exactly what its title says – for a very short poem, it expresses a great deal.

    Congratulations to all our winners and many thanks to everyone who entered and made judging such a difficult decision because the standard was incredibly high.

    Special mentions (in no particular order) for the Judge’s Prize are:

    Olimpia has a Problem with Shoes by Kathleen Jones
    SONG by Robert Hamberger
    I put apple by Mario Petrucci
    Tiresias by Lesley Saunders
    Confession by Rebecca Watts

    Special mentions (in no particular order) for the Editors’ Prize are:

    As Above, So Below by Neil Ferguson
    Last Light by Simon Richey
    Soaking in Vinegar by Catherine Edmunds
    With Feathers by Polly Atkin
    Ai Wewei’s Memory Test by Louise Vale

  2. Poet Cheryl Moskowitz provides the third tweet for Magma’s #The 12 Competition Tweets of Christmas campaign which we are running to inspire you to enter the competition before the 18 January deadline. ‘Your write poems about what/you feel deepest and hardest’ are words from ‘Johnny’s Poem’ by Canadian poet, Alden Nolan Cheryl says: “These words are always what I think of when am writing poetry myself or encouraging others to write. The best poems for me manage to achieve some new kind of knowing or understanding of something we might think we already know and can offer a different way of seeing ourselves and the world. ‘Poetry is life distilled’ says Pulitzer prize winning American teacher and poet Gwendolyn Brooks. In these overwhelming times, we need that kind of distillation more than ever. Cheryl won a special mention (and £15 prize) in the Magma Poetry Competition 2013 Editors’ Prize for ‘Saudade’, which was printed in Magma 58.  Click here to find out more about the Magma Poetry Competition 2015/16.


  3. Magma’s 2015/2016 Poetry Competition is now open and runs until19 January 2015. Daljit Nagra is the Judge for the Judge’s Prize for poems of 11 to 50 lines. First prize £1,000, second prize £300 and third prize £150. Magma’s Editors’ Prize is also open over the same period for poems of up to ten lines: First prize £1,000, second prize £300 and 10 special mentions £15.

    We spoke to Daljit Nagra about becoming the Magma Judge for the Competition to help inspire readers with their competition submissions.

  4. This is your last chance to enter the Magma Poetry Competition 2014/15!

    Magma’s Poetry Competition has two contests, one for short poems of up to 10 lines, and one for poems of 11 to 50 lines. Poems of 11 to 50 lines will be judged by Jo Shapcott for the Judge’s Prize. Poems of up to 10 lines will be entered for the Editors’ Prize and, reflecting Magma’s unique rotating editorship, will be judged by a panel of Magma editors.

  5. 13 days to Christmas, 4 days to enter the competition

    Written by Jenny Wong at 12:00 am

    It’s never too late to write poetry…

  6. Can writing short poems make us better poets?

    Written by Laurie Smith at 3:46 pm

    Karen McCarthy Woolf’s point about short poems not winning competitions makes me ask, why not?  Do judges somehow feel short-changed, reckoning that poets don’t put as much work into writing a short poem as a long one?  I don’t think this is true – a short poem where every word counts is just as likely to have uncertainties, weaknesses that need working on as a .longer poem.  But I suspect it’s what most judges feel deep down and it’s a prejudice that will continue.  In this case Magma’s new poetry competition is long overdue, joining the Plough Poetry Prize with a competition which poems up to 10 lines will definitely win.

    I’ve been trying to think what makes a really short poem good and, at first, there seems no answer – great short poems are as varied as longer ones.  When the Magma team decided on the 10 line limit, we thought of some famous short poems – Blake’s The Sick Rose, Wordsworth’s A slumber did my spirit seal, Herrick’s Upon Julia’s Clothes which Eavan Boland had written brilliantly about in Magma 48.  And we could all think of very short poems in recent collections which we’d enjoyed, though they tended to be exceptions among longer poems or arranged in sequences.

  7. Magma’s new poetry competition now OPEN FOR ENTRIES

    Written by Roberta James at 10:30 am

    In June this year, in celebration of 50 issues of Magma Poetry magazine, and in anticipation of more to come, Magma Poetry launched a new competition.

    The entry period for both the Judge’s Prize for poems of up to 80 lines, and the Magma Editors’ Prize for poems of up to 10 lines is NOW OPEN and runs until end November.

  8. A short piece on the short poem

    Written by Karen McCarthy Woolf at 9:03 am

    I am going to start this article with a statistic. No poem under 10 lines has won the National Poetry Competition since (online) records began in 1978! The website shows winning poems only prior to 2000, but between 2001-2010 you can see all the shortlisted poems and only a handful of them were under 14 lines and none under 10 lines. The shortest is Frank Ortega’s eleven line poem Searching for An Affordable Crossbow which was commended in 2009.

    I use the National as an example, as they keep very comprehensive records online, but this trend bears out. Mslexia shows the last seven years with no short poem winners, while the Cardiff International Poetry Competition offers the exception in 2001-2 with Joan Newmann’s commended Carrageen Mousse and the Boy from Nepal which surely must have been a contender for the title alone.