Emma Purshouse, 2021 Competition Adjudicator,
"What Am I Looking For?"
Emma Purshouse is Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton. She is a poetry slam champion and performs regularly at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK, often using her native Black Country dialect in her work. Appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Solfest, Latitude, Shambala and WOMAD.
In 2017 Emma won the ‘Making Waves’ international spoken word competition which was judged by Luke Wright.
Her most recent publication is ‘Close’ (Offa’s Press, 2018). This was shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award in 2019. Her children’s poetry collection ‘I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat’ won the poetry section of the same award in 2016.
To find out more about Emma go to www.emmapurshouse.co.uk
It’s very hard to say what I’m looking for when judging competitions. I’m definitely looking for carefully crafted, tightly written poetry, but what form that might take, or the subject matter that might deal with will only become apparent when I see it.
A winning poem might be something that creates an emotional reaction when I read it. It could be something so beautifully painted with words that I have a ‘Wow’ moment. I like poems that sparkle, that are well observed. When I judge I read poems aloud, so a piece that feels wonderful to say is always a pleasure. I like poems that have ‘the ring of truth’ to use one of Simon Armitage’s criteria for a good poem. That’s not to say the poem needs to be about something that really happened, it just needs to feel like a truth to me.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be asked to judge a competition. I always take the time to read and appreciate each piece. I can’t wait to read your work.