Poems wanted for Centenary contest in memory of First World War Poet Wilfred Owen

Posted on centenarynews.com on 11 March 2014
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An international poetry competition is being held in memory of Wilfred Owen, the soldier whose poems have become some of the best known writing of the First World War. 

The Wilfred Owen Association says it's looking for poems "in the spirit" of Owen, who was killed just one week before the Armistice in 1918.

The Association told Centenary News: "Wilfred Owen is acknowledged across the world as one of the greatest and most significant of the First World War poets for the power and poignancy of his work." 

"Philip Larkin described him as 'an original and unforgettable poet … the spokesman of a deep and unaffected compassion.' His poetry retains its relevance and universal appeal; it is certainly much more widely read and appreciated now than at any time since his death."  

Wilfred Owen returned to the front line in August 1918 after treatment for shell shock. He won the Military Cross for his courage and leadership during the attack that autumn which broke through the German defences known as the Hindenburg Line. But on 4th November, he was killed in action at the age of 25.

Most of Owen's poems were published posthumously.They were promoted by his fellow war poets, Siegfried Sassoon, and Edmund Blunden.  

There was a wider revival of interest in the 1960s when the composer, Benjamin Britten, set some of Owen's texts, including Anthem for Doomed Youth, in his War Requiem.

The Wilfred Owen Association was founded in 1989 to commemorate the poet's life and work.

Prizes and rules

The Wilfred Owen Association is offering a first prize of £500 to the competition winner, with £250 and £150 for those second and third.

There will also be a special young people's prize of £250 for the best poem by a poet under the age of 19.

*Poems must not have been published previously, or have appeared on a website or broadcast, or been accepted for publication elsewhere.

*Entries must be the original work of the poet, in English, and no longer than 40 lines.

*The closing date for entries is June 30th 2014.

Competition judges

There will be three judges:

Meg Crane, Chair of the Wilfred Owen Association, has twice been a runner-up in the National Poetry Competition.

Gladys Mary Coles, whose publications include ten poetry collections, notably the war-themed Song of the Butcher Bird (2007). Her novel, Clay, set during and after the First World War, tells the story of a young poet and infantryman. 

Gladys Mary Coles has won major prizes in the National Poetry Competition, the Scottish International, Cardiff International, the University of Wales Open, as well as a Welsh Arts Council Writer's Award.

She lectures in creative writing at Liverpool University and runs the literary press, Headland Publications.

Merryn Williams is the author of Wilfred Owen, a study of the poet's life and work, and has also edited two collections of poetry, In the Spirit of Wilfred Owen, for the Wilfred Owen association.

To see full details of the competition rules and how to enter, click here.

Source: The Wilfred Owen Association

Images courtesy of the Wilfred Owen Association

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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