Poetry success for Wolverhampton lecturer

Dr Paul McDonald, Senior Lecturer in English and Creative writingA University of Wolverhampton academic has scooped top prize in a national poetry competition.

Dr Paul McDonald took first place in the annual John Clare Poetry Competition. Run by the John Clare Trust, it works to promote the name of the 19th century English poet John Clare.

The theme of this year’s competition, which is considered to be among the top 10 organised in the UK, was ‘winning’.

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion announced the results and distributed prizes at the Peterborough ‘We Love Words Festival’ on 15 September.

Paul, who is course leader for the University’s Creative and Professional Writing Department, said: “This is the first poetry competition I have entered for over a decade, and I am very pleased to have won.

“As my poem explores the theme of winning from the perspective of bereavement, I wasn’t altogether sure it would be appropriate, but I had some lovely feedback when I read it at the prize-giving event.

"The other poems in my category were impressive so it was both gratifying and surprising to have come out on top."

All prize-winning poems are to be published in a forthcoming anthology. Paul, who is from Walsall, has published three fiction novels and most recently a collection of poetry called An Artist Goes Bananas.

Paul’s poem, which won first prize in the adult category and £500, is reproduced below.

Lucky Jim

I went to Brenda’s house for dinner.
She’s clearing out the fridge which meant
A first course of fishcakes and yoghurt.
Lucky they’re compatible, she said.

Main course prawns, peas
And croquette potatoes;
Angel cake with ice-cream for afters.

She’s clearing out her cupboards too: Jim’s stuff.
I scored a pair of Argyle socks
Lucky they’re in fashion, she said.
We debated widows’ pensions

But weren’t sure of the details;
She plans to pick a booklet up from Age Concern.
She’s terminating Sky – making do

With Free View and knitting.
Lucky I’m a reader, she said.
She’s cancelling the Racing Post,
Arranging for collection

Of his hearing aid, tablets, and orthopedic bed.
His Lotto numbers will survive:
I just have a feeling, she said.

ENDS

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