‘Roses’ Competition Winners

We are thrilled to be able to announce the winners of our National Trust competition, in connection with Sissinghurst Castle, Kent — home of Vita Sackville-West and her beautiful gardens. The winning poems will be published in a small pamphlet and read at the ‘Roses’ poetry evening, held at Sissinghurst Castle on 10th June. If you would like a copy of the pamphlet, you can pre-order one HERE.

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1st Place:

Roy Marshall — Rose

2nd Place:

Mary Anne Smith — Like One Long Poem of Names

3rd Place:

Gill McEvoy — A Rose

Highly Commended (in alphabetical order):

Ed Broom — A Crossply for your Croci

Olivia Dawson — Through a Gap in the Hedge

Nicki Griffin — Madame and Monsieur

Yvonne Marjot — Sissinghurst Rose

Lawrence Wilson — Untitled

Judge’s Report — Jill Munro

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.” Jean Cocteau, Le Rappel a l’order (1926).

Roy Marshall’s winning poem took a refreshingly off-piste view of the topic which was immediately touching: the rose as metaphor for a human
feature, after a son’s birth who emerges ‘feverish, pink cheeked’ and ‘a mirror of his mother’.  This is an intimate, well-crafted ‘perfect miniature’ of a moment in time – the poetic holy grail. 

Mary Anne Smith’s 2nd placed poem embraced all the competition themes – using a quotation from Vita as its title, a superbly
lyrical ‘Untamed, exuberant, rambling’ list of rose names, evoking a bygone era and, with its recurring line, keeping her ‘held in these leaves, her thoughts, pressed like flowers’ – a eulogy to Vita.  

In contrast, Gill McEvoy’s 3rd placed poem replicates  the simplicity of ‘A Rose’ – the purity and economy emulating the beauty of its subject. 

Many could have been selected as winners and another judge would have made an entirely different selection but all entrants are to be commended for putting pen to paper in appreciation of England’s National (Trust) flower and making the selection such an enjoyable process. 


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