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Live Canon Performing Poetry Competition

2014 International Poetry Competition

View the shortlist here.

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Live Canon 2014 Poetry Competition. The standard and volume of entries this year was overwhelming and we are very proud to be publishing these poems in our 2014 Prize Anthology. We'll let you know as soon as it's available for pre-ordering and it will be in all good bookshops by November.

The unique aspect of the Live Canon competition is that all the shortlisted poems are peformed by the Live Canon ensemble (from memory) in a special event at Greenwich Theatre to launch the anthology and announce the overall winner. Everyone is welcome, and if you would like tickets, just let us know.

Tessa Foley on winning the 2013 Live Canon International Poetry Prize: The whole Live Canon experience was rare and emotional. To hear one's poetry interpreted by a talented professional is an opportunity that every writer should have; I felt truly privileged to see my poem alongside 20 others that were each so uniquely superb.
Winning has given me a huge boost, elevating belief in my own work and I am incredibly grateful to have met such passionate and welcoming people.

An additional 'Borough' prize of £100 is sponsored by Greenwich Theatre and awarded to a poet living, studying or working in the London Borough of Greenwich.


2013/14 Live Canon First Collection Prize

The First Collection Prize has been won by NJ Hynes. Her extraordinary first collection, The Department of Emotional Projections, is now available from all good bookshops, or from Amazon here. She introduces herself and the collection here:

I played with words as soon as I could speak, and was banned from my sisters' room for telling stories when they wanted to sleep. My early years were spent in one of the few racially mixed neighbourhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I moved to the UK in 1995, to begin research on African artists living and working in London, and have lived and worked in London ever since. I returned to poetry in the aftermath of 9/11, and pursued it through Arvon courses, the Poetry School in London and eventually an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths in 2010.

I enjoy the challenge of formal constraints -- it's like swimming in a small, deep rock pool, or etching a world on an egg shell. The Department of Emotional Projections is both the collection title and a sonnet sequence that grew very slowly; at times, it felt like painting a series of miniatures, balancing washes of colour with details achieved by a fine camel's hair brush.

Mark Huband, Tim Richardson, Marcus Smith and Andrew George were all shortlisted for the award. Due to the extraordinary quality of work submitted this year, we are delighted to announce that we will also be publishing their collections throughout the year. We are thrilled to be able to support emerging poets and new work in this way and to bring the work of these five writers to wider audiences. We are also hugely grateful to the judging panel who gave their time to read so many collections with such care and diligence.

We will run the prize again in 2015. Details will be posted here and sent out to our mailing list.








HEAD JUDGE: Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell's recent book 'On Poetry' was described by the Guardian as 'the best book about poetry I've ever read'. Simon Armitage described it: as the ‘most compelling, original, charismatic and poetic guide to poetry that I can remember. A handbook written from the heart by one of the true modern masters of the craft.’ Glyn has published prolifically as a poet and playwright, winning the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Prize, an Eric Gregory Award... and being nominated multiple times for the TS Eliot Prize, Forward Prize and Whitbread Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Welsh Academy.

Andrew McMillan, on winning the 2012 Live Canon International Poetry Prize:

'Winning the Live Canon competition was such a thrill and an honour! I rarely enter competitions but the chance to see an actor perform my poem on stage seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up- to win as well was just terrific! I never really thought I wrote the sort of poems that would win competitions but the prize really helped my career and the prize money came at just the right time for me!'

BUY THE 2013 anthology here.

To receive details of the 2014 First Collection Prize when submissions open, sign up to our mailing list: