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The iYeats Poetry Competition was launched by the Hawk's Well Theatre in 2009 to mark the 50th Yeats International Summer School and the 70th anniversary of the death of W. B Yeats.

The competition is an annual online international poetry competition which has won a prestigious reputation for the calibre of both entrants and judges. The competition is open to all those 16 years of age and upwards. We award an overall prize across the board of entries and an emerging prize to a young poet aged between 16-25 years of age.

The judges for the iYeats Poetry Competition 2016 are Colin Dardis and Moya Cannon

The winner of the general poetry prize is Niamh Prior for her poem, Lagan. Highly commended in the general category are Niamh Prior (Practicing), Breda Spaight (Her Cross) and David Butler (Exodus).
The winner of the emerging category (for poets of 16-25 years of age) is Laura Herlihy for her poem titled Capped Boots. Highly commended poets in the category are Sean Flynn (Mnemonic Device) and Michal Leibowitz (May Psalm & There Were No Tulips).

PRIZES

General category: First Prize €500
Emerging category: €300 (aged 16 – 25 years)

iYeats 2016 dates

• Entry Opens: Wed 4 May
• Closing Date for entries: Friday 1 July
• Winners notified by Monday 18 July
• Results Publicly Announced: Wednesday 27th July

To enter the iYeats Poetry Competition, please visit Terms & Conditions.

 

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Judges Commentary 2016: Moya Cannon & Colin Dardis

Main Category

Winner

‘Lagan’ is a deeply mysterious poem, surreal and, at times, even playful, but carrying huge emotional ballast.  There is a strong narrative thread, sustained by finely textured, sensuous language and a skilled use of imagery. “I skimmed my fingertips over his ribs,/his metacarpal bones, those coral twigs”. The speaker’s combination of detachment and tenderness allows us to accompany the writer on a journey to the depths and back.


Runners-up

The competition attracted a lot of poems on the theme of death, but ‘Practising’ stood out for its mixture of black humour and despair. From the formality of its opening to the descent into a comedic back-and-forth, onto its stark ending, this is a well-crafted and highly enjoyable piece.

‘Her Cross’ is full of savagery and helplessness, one of the few poems that made me feel sorry for the speaker. Lines of commentary on the father mixed in with the action result in a harrowing portrayal of childhood, topped and tailed with unexpected lines that made this a stand out poem.

‘Exodus’ is full of sharp, intelligent imagery - “a tiny Gulliver” for instance – packed into a relatively brief poem. There has been plenty of poems written recently about the plight of immigrants and the shock over certain scenes in the news; ‘Exodus’ is as concrete, focused and impactful as a newsflash, one that resonates with current times.

Emerging Writers

The opening line of ‘Capped Boots’ – “When B’s looked like D’s” is cleverly reflected in the proceeding word choices, such as “labelled” and “dumb”. The image of white-collar school shoes being exchanged for blue-collar work boots is particularly effective, a restricted life choice summed up in one small detail, whereas the last stanza just cries out wretchedness. Overall, it captures a certain desolation without being maudlin or apologetic.

Runners-up

‘May Psalm’ is a deceptively quiet poem.  The language is understated and fresh ‘The fields are shaved/ with silence’.  It is a poem which does not quite yield up its secret, nor does it wish to.   Yet in a very few lines the writer succeeds in conveying a sense of unspeakable loss.

The imagery in ‘There Were No Tulips’ is stark and vivid ‘…the crows stayed./Ruffled their skins from the telephone/wires. Crowed as they were wont to do.’  The jagged, enjambed lines convey a sense of tension.  The writer strikes a good balance between telling us enough and not telling us too much.

‘Mnemonic Device’  The writer uses the mnemonic of counting knuckles and the gaps between them to establish whether a month contains thirty or thirty-one days.  The image then resonates at the level of a personal relationship, bringing the abstract and the tangible into dialogue in a most interesting way.

 


 

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Judges Commentary 2015: Jane Clarke & Dave Lordan

We are glad to say that there was a bumper entry to the competition this year. Congratulations first of all to everyone who entered and made the substantial creative effort it requires to produce a poem. Such effort is never wasted. The diversity of styles, themes and poetic voices we encountered gives cause for great optimism about the future of poetry in Ireland. Many poems were of or close to publishable standard. Among those we chose to highly commend in the General Category, we found evidence of an extra effort, an extra insight, an extra range, an extra layer, an extra something that set our poetic antennae tingling, provoked our curiosity, encouraged re-reading and led both of us to praise the artistry on show and contemplate the shaded meanings. Well done to all those poets; it was a delight to encounter your work.

The poem which stood out for both of us in the Emerging Category, ‘Dead Ends’, is an intense, moving poem in which striking language and imagery is carried by the music of the lines through resonating sounds. The winning entry, ‘Ward Warning’ was one we both zoned in on as exhibiting a superior understanding of the relationship between form and meaning in the short poem, as well as being an original and evocative handling of the unfortunately all too-topical theme of mental illness. We heartily congratulate both winning poets and look forward to reading more of their work in the future.

Congratulations to one and all, we hope this will prove as an encouragement to continue on with your writing.

                                                                                                                                

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iYeats 2015
Judges: Jane Clarke and Dave Lordan.
Winning poems 2015 here.

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iYeats 2014
Judges: Peter Sirr and Catherine Phil McCarthy.
Winning poems 2014 here.

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iYeats 2013
Judges: Katie Donovan and James Harpur
Winning poems 2013 here.

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iYeats 2012
Judges: Theo Dorgan and Paula Meehan
Winning poems 2012 here.

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iYeats 2011
Judges: Gerald Dawe and Enda Wyley. 
Winning poems 2011 here.

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iYeats 2010
Judges: Vincent Woods and Rita Ann Higgins.
Winning poems 2010 here.

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iYeats 2009
Judges: Niall MacMonagle and Mary Branley
Winning poems 2009 here.