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Bolton Arts Festival Poems 2012

Opened for submissions: 07/04/2012 00:00 BST
Closed for submissions: 07/06/2012 23:59 BST

This competition has ended.


Submissions are invited for original poems to be displayed alongside other art works in up to 45 town centre shops during the week-long Bolton Arts Festival from 14th June.

All submitted poems will be appear on the website, whose huge poetic community will be invited to rate and comment on the poems, with the final selection – one per shop - curated by Write Out Loud director, Julian Jordon.

The Write Out Loud community can then comment on and rate the poem out of 10. These ratings will be used to guide Julian’s final selection.

As well as in shops, the selected poems will appear in a Bolton Arts Festival anthology and website.

The deadline for receipt of poems is midnight on Wednesday 6th June 2012. So, get out your pen and paper, look at the list of shops and start writing, and commenting and voting. Come on you poets!

Bolton Arts Festival, 14 – 21 June, 2012 across the town centre, and on university and college campuses.


Submission Terms and Conditions

1.  Competition Rules

1.1.  In the following, the terms ‘we’ refers to Write Out Loud, Bolton Council, Bolton University, Bolton Arts Forum and the festival partners and sponsors.

1.2.  By submitting you are deemed to have read and agree to abide by these terms and conditions.

1.3.  Each poem must have a title and be no more than 30 lines in length, using standard line length – no concrete poetry.

1.4.  Poems must be suitable for display in a public place and contain no material that in the judgement of the curator might cause offence.

1.5.  All submissions must be in English.

1.6.  You can submit poems for as many shops as you wish, but no more than two poems per shop per poet.

1.7.  The closing date for submission is midnight (UK time), Weds 6th June 2012.

1.8.  Those whose work is selected will be contacted by email and the results announced on the organisers’ websites and in the press where appropriate.

1.9.  If selected you will be required to provide your full name and address.

1.10.  The curator’s decision on selection of poems is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

1.11.  We reserve the right to withdraw selected poems and substitute alternatives where necessary.

1.12.  Only poems submitted online on are eligible.

1.13.  By submitting work you agree to its continued display during the term of the festival.

1.14.  All submissions must conform to the Write Out Loud website terms and conditions.

1.15.  By submitting, you warranty that all work submitted is your own original work, does not contain anything that breaches copyright, plagiarises others’ work or infringes any intellectual property rights whatsoever.

1.16.  All poems remain the copyright of the originating author.

1.17.  In uploading your work you give permission for the organisers to publish the poem on the Write Out Loud website within the terms of its standard terms and conditions; and (if selected), on a poster in a Bolton shop window, on the Bolton Arts Forum website and in its print anthology; and for use in publicising this and subsequent events.
No other use will be made of your work without your permission being sought.

1.18.  Other’s work can be included within original poems with appropriate permissions – Cento, for example - responsibility for securing such permission resting with the poet submitting the work.

1.19.  Once submitted, poems cannot be amended or resubmitted.
Correspondence on individual work cannot be entered into, except for technical issues to do with uploading.

1.20.  We accept no responsibility for loss of poems, so do keep a copy.

1.21.  We accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant submitting poems to this event, howsoever caused.

1.22.  We accept no responsibility to any party for any technical failure whatsoever.

1.23.  In any dispute the curator’s decision will be binding and final and no correspondence can be entered into on such decisions.

1.24.  The project is managed by Write Out Loud, 7 Warehouse Hill, Marsden HD7 6AB

2.  Tips and Hints

2.1.  Submitted work will be appearing in public as part of a major arts festival and online and in a printed anthology, so please read, and re-read, your work carefully before submitting. The final selection will take account of grammar, punctuation and presentation.

2.2.  Reading through comments on the Write Out Loud blogs can be very useful in giving ideas for how to formulate and present your work.

2.3.  You are responsible for your own proofreading.

Entry Categories

Poems were entered in the following categories.


Image of Amore


12  Corporation St. Bolton

Independent family-run furniture store. If beds, sofas or chairs could talk; if tables could eavesdrop on tea-time conversations...

They specialise in fairly showy furniture with much chrome and diamanté - that's amoré, as Dean Martin said. Italian for love.

3 entries

Babers Bladez

Image of Babers Bladez

Babers Bladez

St. Andrew's Court, Bolton


Poems about the conversations between hairdresser and client? About the transformations? What happens to all that hair they cut off?

2 entries


Image of Barnardos


49 Newport Street
Town Centre, Bolton

Lots of scope to look at the donated goods and write about the people who donated them, perhaps the links to the ones helped by the charity. Or think about the people who spend their time in there, the volunteers. What if the goods could talk, what would they tell us?

Talking of the volunteers, two of them are poets themselves, Angie and Daniel. excellent.

A lot of stuff sold in charity shops comes from house clearance after someone has gone into a home or has died. There is a lot of scope there for ideas for poems, list ones in particular.

Or write about Barnardos work. A bit of scope there I guess.

4 entries


Image of Beaverbrooks

Beaverbrooks, Crompton Place Shopping Centre, Bolton


Sparkly stuff for special occasions like weddings, engagements, etc. Rings are often emotive items, reminders of those who have passed away, or got away before the wedding.

3 entries

Booth's Music Shop

Image of Booth's Music Shop

Booth's Music Shop, 17 Churchgate  Bolton, Lancashire BL1 1HU

A real old-fashioned shop in the oldest bit of Bolton town centre. The world's oldest music shop, it is claimed, having opened only 16 years after the Battle of Waterloo. An Aladdin's cave of musical instruments, sheet music, tutors, accessories, etc: banjoes, guitars, fiddles, whistles, percussion instruments, harmonicas, sax...

They run music tuition workshops too.

If you can't write a poem about Booth's...

14 entries

Cancer Research charity shop

Cancer Research charity shop

6 Newport St., Bolton

Lots of scope to look at the donated goods and write about the people who donated them, perhaps the links to the ones helped by the charity. Or think about the people who spend their time in there, the volunteers. What if the goods could talk, what would they tell us?

A lot of stuff sold in charity shops comes from house clearance after someone has gone into a home or has died. There is a lot of scope there for ideas for poems, list ones in particular.

3 entries

Carbon Bar

18, St. Andrews Court, Bolton , BL1 1LD

A bar that has undergone transformation recently - caterpillar to butterfly, it says here.

Of all the bars in all the world, she had to walk into this one.

2 entries

Card and Party Centre

Image of Card and Party Centre

Card and Party Centre, Crompton Place Shopping Centre, Bolton

Greetings cards, wrapping, balloons, etc. How about a poem based on lines from classic greetings cards, for example. Or what new type of greeting card would you introduce?

2 entries

Carrs Pasties

Image of Carrs Pasties

Carrs Pasties, The Corner Shop, Ashburner St. BL3 1TQ

Pasties, pies and sausage roll shop. Pastry, flour, ovens, fillings, what can you buy with your shillings?

Details of the company and shop, including map.

1 entry

Costa Coffee

Image of Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee

Italian style coffee bar

34-36 Deansgate

Huge scope for writing about the people who pass through or linger in here. Or about the view from the window. Who is that guy who has the statue? What about the two holding hands, etc.

6 entries

Ernest Jones

Image of Ernest Jones

Ernest Jones

18 Hotel street

Jewellery, watches, gifts.

A chance to write something that shines, sparkles or ticks away the minutes and the hours. What do the jewels think as they look at people staring at them an pointing thorugh the window?

2 entries


Image of Greenhalgh


Crompton Place Shopping Centre, Bolton

Bakers of bread, cakes, pies. Makers of sandwiches. Potato cakes, drizzled with butter. Mmm.

Bread, the staff of life. Biscuits, the stuff of, er, scary characters (see photo).

Bake up a poem for this noble shop that feeds the passing population.

2 entries


Image of Greggs


7 Newport Street
Town Centre, Bolton

Well-known chain of bakery shops, made famous recently for having VAT put on pasties, and Ed Millband and Ed Balls ostentatiously being photographed munching one each outside one of the shops.

3 entries

Hays Travel

Image of Hays Travel

Hays Travel, St. Andrews Court, Bolton

Hays Travel is the UK's largest independently owned travel agent.

Take your words on a journey.

10 entries


Image of HMV


3/5 Exchange Street
Bolton, Lancashire
01204 524641

Sell music and film media such as CD's, DVDs etc. Music, films, all those characters and stories in shiny plastic boxes, all those lives, tragedies, triumphs, disasters and daftnesses.

7 entries



Photographic shop

Show map of 34 Newport Street, Town Centre, Bolton BL1 1NB

Photographs have long been stimulus for poetry, often used in creative writing workshops. Once we all trooped off ot the photo shop to get our negatives and prints, quite happy to wait until they were developed. Now, it's all digital, and we can do so much with them, share them via internet, mobile phones (sorry, smart phones), blue teeth all that. Write about that eh?

2 entries

Lizzie Mars

Image of Lizzie Mars

Lizzie Mars, St Andrew's Court, Bolton

Florist, gifts, cards, vintage homeware.

Why do we give gifts, agonising over their appropriateness, their cost, how we might be perceived by the recipient?

2 entries

Mea Fashion

Image of Mea Fashion

Mea Fashion, 13 St. Andrews Court  Town Centre, Bolton BL1 1LD

Women's designer clothes, shoes, belts, accessories. Fabrics, feeling, looking our best. special occasions.

Mannequins swathed in silk, coddled in cotton - OK, I'll belt up.

1 entry


Image of Milkshake


26 Corporation St, Bolton

A milkshake bar where they shake milk, and lots of other stuff.

Read a full article in Bolton News

Shake those words and stanzas.

2 entries

Mr Simms Sweet Shop

Image of Mr Simms Sweet Shop

1-2 St. Andrews Court, Bolton

An olde worlde sweet shop. One custumer wrote of it: It reminds me of the olden days and the sweet shop in Charles Dickens' novel the "Bleak House. What does it remind you of? Your childhood?

6 entries


Image of Next

Next, The Market Place, Bolton

Chain clothes shop

Great scope for imagining who buys what for what reason. All the colours, fabrics - the names of fabrics, too.

2 entries

Octagon Theatre

Image of Octagon Theatre

The Octagon is a nationally-renowned theatre that has lots of accolades for its productions. Artistic Director David Thacker is famous for his productions of Arthur Miller's work, having worked with the late American playwright.

It also has a popular cafe by the booking office.

The bar there is a part of Write Out Loud's history, our having run irrregular highly-successful showcase poetry nights there over a number of years.

How much scope is there here for poems? The characters, the actors, the staff, the ghosts...


7 entries

Odessa Café and Salad Bar

Image of Odessa Café and Salad Bar

Odessa Café and Salad Bar

1 Bridgeman Buildings
Exchange Street

video ad showing the interior

Great name, too. A port on the Black Sea in Ukraine. And, again, scope for people watching and speculating: what if...?

3 entries

Olympus Fish and Chip restaurant

Image of Olympus Fish and Chip restaurant

Family-run, award-winning Olympus Fish and Chip restaurant, 35-39 Gt. Moor St., Bolton BL1 1SW

Well, the name Olympus gives loads of opportunity for London 2012-based poems. And our noble fish and chips have been part of all our lives for so long. And what about the fish stocks dwindling? This is a huge place, too, with lots of different people from all walks of life.

And it's a posh fish and chip place, with music from the grand piano to accompany the dining.

The family is originally from Cyprus, now winning awards here in Bolton.

There's a lot of  scope. Get it written!

1 entry

Omega Collectables

Omega Collectables, St Andrews Court, Bolton

Comic book shop. It comes highly recommended for collectors of Star Trek, Dr Who and Star Wars comics.

Superheroes of poetry?

1 entry

PDSA Charity Shop

Image of PDSA Charity Shop

Bolton PDSA Charity Shop

44 Newport Street
Greater Manchester

PDSA’s charity shops sell a range of good quality clean donated clothes, kitchen equipment, toys, books, vinyl, CD's and DVD's to help raise money to treat the thousands of sick and injured pets their vets see each day.

Animal lovers, post your poems.

5 entries

Phones 4 U

Image of Phones 4 U

Phones 4 U

64-66 Deansgate

Mobile phone shop. Wow, what scope here for poems about the conversations people have, in what circumstances? Declarations of love, difficult news, reassurance, photo of the new baby, those 9/11 last phone calls...

4 entries

Rhode Island Coffee

Image of Rhode Island Coffee

This is the 12 Knowsley St., Bolton one.

Rhode Island Coffee

Here is a review in the Bolton News.

6 entries



15-19 Newport St., Bolton

Stationery Store: write about things to write with, on and in; things to organise your life and work, where does all that paper come from? Who still buys paperclips?

5 entries

St. Andrew's Court

Image of St. Andrew's Court

St Andrew’s Court is a small renovated shopping precinct in an old part of Bolton town centre. It contains several small independent shops.

Links, some with photos

link 1


link 3

link 4

link 5

You can write about the precinct and/or individual shops within it. some of the links might help you think about the precinct's story, for example.

3 entries

Stitches of Bolton

Image of Stitches of Bolton

Stitches of Bolton, St Andrews Court

Clothing repairs and alterations. Making do and mending. So many stories. How many times has this been mended? Why can't she bring herself to throw it away? What is so urgent about getting this button sewn on? Where is she going in that outfit, and why is she having it reduced in size?

Colours of cottons, zips, fabrics. The repair that was never picked up?

8 entries


Image of Subway

Subway, 46A Newport Street, Bolton

Sellers of sandwiches, coffee and salads.

Everyone has to eat. If music be the food of love, perhaps poetry is food for the soul. Be inspired: who are these people teh staff see for a few seconds at a time, coming and going, in and out, to where? from where?

4 entries

The Courtyard Jewellers

Image of The Courtyard Jewellers

The Courtyard Jewellers, 3 St. Andrews Court  Town Centre, Bolton BL1 1LD

New and secondhand jewellers, family firm.

Baubles, bangles, bright shiny poems about where diamonds come from, who buys them. the hopes and dreams of wedding rings...

5 entries

The Magic Tree

Image of The Magic Tree

The Magic Tree, St Andrew's Court, Bolton  BL1 1LD

Quirky toys and gifts different from chain stores. Runs workshops for toddlers with things like craft, circus skills, pottery, reading workshops, and recycling junk to make toys.

5 entries

The Work Shop

The Work Shop
39 Newport Street
Bolton, BL1 1NE
United Kingdom
Phone: 01204 526040

Google Map

Provides local employment information and advice for those seeking work or training: help with your CV, honing your interview skills and offer support to suit your individual needs such as confidence and motivation..

You can register with The work shop if you are unemployed (or about to be made redundant), receiving benefits, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit (6 months or longer), Council Tax or Housing Benefit) and living in Bolton.

This should provide a lot of scope for poems.

5 entries


Waterstones, 34-36 Deansgate. Bolton BL1 1BL

Famous book store. Hopefully you shouldn't need any more description. Lots of scope here for things to write about. About the shop, the staff the life of books...

17 entries

Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe

Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe, 31 Churchgate, Bolton BL1 1HU

The popular olde worlde pasty shop in an historic part of Bolton, near the spot where Lord Derby was executed as a traitor and his part in the Bolton Massacre. Not sure the pasty shop was there then though.

Food has long been a source of inspiration for poets. Recent VAT changes and the politics of pasties might also yieid interesting verses.

12 entries

This competition is assocated with the Write Out Loud profile Bolton Arts Trail

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