Double success for students Shirley-Anne and Eileen in poetry competition

entry picture

Two former organisers of a Write Out Loud night have come first and second in Bolton University’s poetry competition. Shirley-Anne Kennedy, pictured right, with her poem ‘Moving On’, and Eileen Earnshaw, left, (‘If I Could’) came first and second in the competition’s staff/student category. They are both creative writing students at the university. It is the second time that Shirley-Anne has been a winner in the competition. 

Judges Ben Wilkinson and Evan Jones said: “The winning poem, Shirley-Anne Kennedy’s ‘Moving On’, struck us for its precise and atmospheric use of language to conjure a sensual memory. It succeeds in inviting the reader to trespass on a private moment, eerily suspended, just as the speaker’s heels are ‘anchored in soft earth’.

 “Evan and I were impressed by the overall quality of entries this year, but in the end, the winning poems stood out for their combination of real feeling and imaginative use of language with a clear speaking voice.”

Other 2017 competition winners were Penny Boxall, 'A Flap-dragon'; and runner up Michael Brown, 'The Soul of a Dog', in the open category, and Matthew Trundle, 'Territorial Transitions', and runner up: Areej Nadeem, 'Recur', in the sixth form/college category.

Shirley-Anne said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won the competition for a second time,” while Eileen said she was “thrilled” to have been placed second. Shirley-Anne and Eileen were formerly co-hosts of Write Out Loud Middleton.

The prizegiving took place on Monday 11 December at Bolton Library and Museum.





by Shirley-Anne Kennedy


There had been roses

around a wooden door.

Pink to make the boys wink

old as the hills kind of roses.

And a lean-to shed,

heavy with nicotine stains

plummy congealed blood

marking the way underfoot

fat maggots plopping down,

from copper plumage above.

In the back bedroom

hung blue gingham curtains

thin enough to read till late

on long summer nights.

She had kissed the boy

from The Old Swan

on the lush spring lawn.

Cherry gloss lipstick

and glitter eyeshadow

smeared across his shirt.

The heels of her shoes

anchored in soft earth.

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