Ouse Washes Poetry Competition

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About 

The Fenland Reed, in collaboration with Fen Speak, is inviting submissions for the first Ouse Washes Poetry Competition. Running as part of Ouse Fest 2016, the competition is looking for poems responding to the landscape, wildlife and heritage of the Ouse Washes, an area at the heart of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk fens. It is free to enter, open to anyone, and we are teaming up with the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) to provide you with some inspiration…

We’d like you to take as your starting point any one of the shortlisted photographs in this year’s Snap the Ouse competition, which you can view online here. You can respond to your chosen photograph in any way you like - you might use the setting, a central image, or even the title. We’re looking for poems that draw inspiration from these pictures but which also depart from them and stand on their own.

Judging and Prizes

The competition will be judged by acclaimed poet, Clare Best (see biography below).

There are three prizes up for grabs in the form of book tokens worth £100 (first prize), £50 (second prize) and £25 (third prize). The deadline is Friday 12th August. Winning entries will be published online and in the autumn edition of The Fenland Reed

Submission Guidelines

Please send your poem as a single word document attachment to ousewashespoetry@gmail.com. Please provide your name, address, the title of your poem, and the title of the photograph that inspired your poem in the body of your email. Do not include your name or any identifying information in your attachment. Please read the full guidelines below before submitting.

  • Entrants may submit no more than one poem.
  • Entries must be received before midnight on Friday 12th August.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished and must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. They must not have won a prize in any other competition or appeared on any website or blog.
  • Poems must be written in English and should be no more than 50 lines long. There is no restriction on form. The theme and stimuli are open to broad interpretation.
  • All poems will be judged anonymously and without reference to the photographs.
  • The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about the judging process.
  • Copyright remains with the author but we reserve the right to publish prizewinning entries online, in print, and to display them at Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership events.
  • Results will be announced on this website in October. Winners will be contacted by email beforehand.

About the judge

Clare Best has been a bookbinder, a bookseller and an editor. Excisions, her first full collection, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 2012. Other poetry publications include Treasure Ground (HappenStance 2010), Breastless (Pighog 2011) and CELL (Frogmore Press 2015). Clare’s prose memoir was runner-up for the Mslexia Memoir Competition 2015. Springlines, her collaborative project with the painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, explores hidden and mysterious bodies of water across the South of England – work from this project was shown at Glyndebourne in summer 2015 and there will be further exhibitions at galleries in Tunbridge Wells and Lymington over the next two years. Clare is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University, and in 2015 was one of two Writers in Residence at the University of Brighton.

The competition is being funded by a Community Heritage grant from the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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