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Winning poems from Magma’s pop-up poetry competition in Winchester

As part of our Winchester Poetry Festival activities to launch our National Conversation about poetry, Magma ran a pop-up poetry competition on the theme of ‘nationhood’. The competition was won outright by Dom Cramp for his poem, The Broken English and Richard Stillman was our runner-up with From Chaucer to Grime. The winners were invited on stage to read their work alongside Ros Barber and Jackie Kay. Poet and Magma board member, Susannah Hart was one of the judges and explains what impressed her about the poems:

The Broken English

“This poem stood out because of its imaginative use of language. It’s called The Broken English, and plays on the two meanings of that phrase; the narrator uses ‘broken English’ to tell the story and the poem is about a fractured society. It was great to see the energy that Dom gave to the piece when he performed it.

From Chaucer to Grime

This poem was inspired by Patience Agbabi’s reading at the Winchester Festival. What we particularly enjoyed was the rich vocabulary of the poem and the way in which the poet explores the use of language through time.”

 

The Broken English 

5:30 Pub bell jangle man in van come through
Face so red as ink on leg his tattoos of Man U
5:31 week since world cup and all them England goal
His van it have England flag on little England pole
He order then flop on chair as if he gotten hurt
All while St. George still screamin on his shirt
5:33 strong drink come in hand of black waitress
But spill some while she walking on her flower dress
Her foreign only tongue just knows apology
He shouts the bloody foreign do nothing properly
He leave in wave of anger of English blood in vein
He pull St. George around the head to guard from the rain
He think it maybe drown him wash his world away
Turn his perfect white one into black and grey

Dom Cramp

 

 

From Chaucer to Grime

The glossary lists words side-by-side, I saw
the old italicized, made strange, quaint, funny.
When she spoke, words travelled, prospective in-laws,
that met with due respect, gravity and doubt,
forcing smiles as their word ways are made uncanny,
eager to be back after straining their jaws,
happy with this kith and kin that’s given both new clout.

Richard Stillman

 

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