Di Slaney, 2017 Competition Adjudicator, "What Am I Looking For?"
What am I looking for in a winning poem? It’s easier to say what I’m NOT looking for in a poem – it doesn’t have to fit a certain style, or length; it doesn’t have to be formally structured or be on a particular theme. It certainly doesn’t have to fit with any notion of what might currently be ‘on trend’ in contemporary poetry – I value the old as well as the new. What I’d really love to find in the submissions to this competition is what I’ve experienced only a few times as a reader – that unexpectedly exhaled ‘Oh!’ of delight at first reading, which then becomes a deeper joy at second and third. The poems that do that for me have all had a strongly felt emotional truth, where I can immediately connect with the poet through their words on the page, and hear their voice. So don’t hold back on writing your passions, however they’re expressed and whatever form or subject they take – 2017 needs passionate writers who can shape the future with the strength of their words. I look forward to feeling your poems.
Di Slaney is a smallholder, marketing consultant, publisher and artisan yarn producer. She owns Candlestick Press, and her poems have been widely published and commended. She won first prize in the 2014 Brittle Star and 2015 Four Corners poetry competitions, and was highly commended in the 2016 Forward Prizes. Her pamphlet Dad’s Slideshow is available from Stonewood Press and her collection Reward for Winter is published by Valley Press.