Poetry with Carol Ann Duffy

Back in September I entered the Brighton and Hove Arts Council Poetry Festival Poetry Competition in the student category. In November I got a phone call to say that I’d won and my prize £150 would be presented by Carol Ann Duffy at The Old Market in Brighton on November 18th, 2017.

Well, how could I not go? To be presented by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy was a prize in itself, worth a lot more than the monetary one. Thanks to a couple of my supporting friends I was able to go to the ball. We headed down to Brighton on the train on Friday evening and caught a taxi to Hove from the station.

What a great venue

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My friends treated me like a celebrity and insisted I had a photograph taken outside. Unfortunately I’m wearing my computer glasses as I rushed out with them on by mistake. So not only did I look funny, I couldn’t see very far either.

Because I was a winner it meant I got in free. Quite a bargain when the tickets were £20 a head. But I needed proof that I was allowed in, so my hand was stamped.

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Once in there was music in the bar and my friends and I enjoyed a bottle of Prosecco. We didn’t drink it all before the show started, after all I needed to get up onto the stage, so we put the rest behind the bar for the interval. A buffet spread was laid out.



The show began:  Hammer & Tongue with Michael Parker and The Big Poetry Slam Competition were up first. This followed with an interval.

After the interval it was the Poetry Competition Awards. Student category first with runners up called out individually to collect their prizes from the Poet Laureate herself, Carol Ann Duffy.

Next was the overall winner for the student category –  which of course was ME – I was accompanied on my journey to the stage with fanfare music . What great fun.




Carol Ann Duffy presented my cheque and I got to shake her hand!

Hopefully I’ll have a photograph of this in due course, just to prove to you that it happened. Well that’s one thing knocked off the bucket list. Wow, what an evening.

Next was the Open Poetry competition winners –

Overall winner – Liz Fincham with Brexit Blues.

Attila The Stockbroker then entertained the audience for 45 minutes before the final  interval.

During the interval I met a couple of ladies from Brighton Gin who manned a stall for gin tasting. I hadn’t tried gin since I was a young girl. Gin seems to be quite topical so I decided it was time I tried it again. I liked it. The gin ladies were very knowledgeable about its history. I promised to come up with a poem – so watch this space.



Following the interval we had one whole hour of Poetry with Carol Ann Duffy – wow – it was worth the wait.

Four hours of poetry at a great venue, receiving first prize in a student poetry competition, and getting to shake hands with Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

Yep what an evening!

Here’s my winning poem: I hope you like it.



Grandad’s Garden 

I turn the cone upside down,
it changes to a flower,
like the dahlias
in Grandad’s garden
where creepy earwigs
hide inside.

I paint my pinecone fiery orange,
use a green-striped straw for the stem,

wrap it in mistletoe paper,
place it under the tree
as a special present
for Mummy
on Christmas Day,

to make her smile,
cos she cries in bed, every night,
since Grandad died.

You can read the rest of the winning poems and find out more about Brighton and Hove Arts Council from here:

BHAC Poetry Festival


Pictures taken from Pixabay

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