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In praise of Milton Keynes: Graham Sherwood wins poetry competition in home city

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Congratulations to Write Out Loud’s meeter and greeter and moderator Graham Sherwood, who has won first prize in a poetry competition in his home city of Milton Keynes!

Graham won with his poem ‘MK Fortean’, which talks of a “cuckoo conurbation” and “casino of communities” and concludes thus: “a courageously proud/ show carapace,/ by which I am blinded.”

embedded image from entry 134546 He said: “I have lived in Milton Keynes for more than 40 years and have watched it grow from a destination shopping centre to a new modern city. Having finally thrown off its ‘concrete cows’ image the city is now a vibrant place for residents and visitors alike who are all continually amazed (as am I) that the place has so much going for it!

“I already knew of the MK Lit Fest from last year and decided to give it a go as poetry is so much a part of my life these days. Not expecting even a honourable mention imagine my astonishment upon being voted the winner of the adult category for poetry. Winning the competition has somewhat emboldened me to try other outlets for my writing. Who knows?”

Inspirational stuff, Graham! Here’s his winning poem in full:



by Graham Sherwood



city of glass

lies secluded in plain sight,

hiding its avaricious persona

camouflaged behind mirrored

refractions and reflections,


cuckoo conurbation,

robber baron village devourer

slick consumer of consumers

pell-mell human spa

or hypno-magnetic



casino of communities

entombed in mummified modernism

preserved under a fickle lens

a confused composite DNA

more helter-skelter

than helicoid


grid mat arterial entity,

that bleeds to oil and polish its

brilliant shimmering dermis

a courageously proud

show carapace,

by which I am blinded




◄ No mere trifle: recovery and discoveries from armchair poets at village book festival

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Lee Campbell

Mon 22nd Apr 2024 22:31

Love the repetitive 'my'.

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John F Keane

Wed 17th Apr 2024 08:48

Poems a poet does not think much of are often the best ones.

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Manish Singh Rajput

Mon 8th Apr 2024 03:13

Congratulations, Graham!!😊

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Stephen Gospage

Sun 7th Apr 2024 21:14

Congratulations to Graham.

I only managed one visit to Milton Keynes and always thought of it as unfashionable, which is perhaps no bad thing. In any event, what do I know? This is a deeply personal, richly annotated tribute.

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Sun 7th Apr 2024 19:23

Congratulations Graham.

Back in the late 70's I went on an organised coach trip from West London to Milton Keynes, to be shown four developments in the hope we would sign up to purchase a property. I didn't...I was only along for the ride so to speak. The whole area had been planted with thousands of saplings, and as it was winter and they were leafless it resembled a scene from a WW1 battlefield. Twenty years later I found myself working in MK, in Knowlhill, and was able to see how the trees and the town had matured.

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Julian (Admin)

Sun 7th Apr 2024 18:07

Congratulations, Graham. Brilliantly done.

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