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Winchester Poetry Prize awarded via zoom but festival postponed to October 2021

Lewis Buxton has won this year’s Winchester Poetry Prize in an online prize-giving event.

Although the festival, had to be postponed due to COVID-19, organisers were relieved “to be able to continue with the poetry prize”.

But the pandemic still had its limelight, as festival manager, Madelaine Smith told WINOL: “Quite a number of poems were obviously inspired by the current world situation. For example, 21 poems included the word ‘Lockdown’ in the title.”

With over 2,000 entries from around the world to read, competition judge and poet Andrew McMillan said poems earned his respect by: “Surprising me, by grabbing me by the scruff of my old t-shirt and not letting me go, by showing me things I didn’t realise poetry could do.”

All the winning and commended poems have been compiled into an anthology called ‘un-seaming the tendon’.

Meanwhile, festival goers can expect to see the biennial event return in October 2021.

Winchester poetry festival organisers told WINOL: “We are hoping very much that we can simply push everything forward but recognise that some of our invited poets may not be able to join us then.”

“We had invited a number of poets from the United States to be a part of our festival and of course we don’t know what travel restrictions and quarantine will look like in 2021, and there are always other unknown factors when planning so far ahead.”

“We don’t know what social distancing rules will exist in the venues we use and how our audiences will feel about attending events by that time.”

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