The George Crabbe Poetry Competition Anthology 2021

Merryn Williams peruses this year’s George Crabbe Poetry Competition Anthology

The annual George Crabbe Poetry competition is run by the Suffolk Poetry Society. This year’s judge was Anne-Marie Fyfe, who has selected sixteen poems for inclusion in the anthology which can be obtained via the SPS website .

Far fewer people now, it seems, are writing about the pandemic and lockdown. But it seeps into poetry in other ways; the first prizewinner, Nicola Warwick, writes in ‘Colony Collapse Syndrome’ about a woman who puts herself in isolation, like Miss Havisham, and lets insects take over her house. Anne Boileau, the author of an accomplished sonnet, regrets that we are ‘denied the gift of flight’. And I was particularly struck by a piece from Cro Page, who is also the third prizewinner, ‘Ghost with a Hammer in his Hand: Lines on suffering seizures on station platforms’; this somehow manages to make a horrible sudden shock sound hilarious.

There are also good poems about autism, memories of Nazism and a child’s first experience of death. It’s encouraging to know that there are so many fine poets in the county of Suffolk.