Red Shed Poetry Competition Wakefield, May 2016
Placed second with ‘I hop you are well’. Read more, and see all the competition winners here
Judge John Foggin wrote of the poem:
"Here was a poem that hooked me with its title, as did the apparent plainness of the opening stanza
‘When I was a child I played by myself
in a room without books,
talked to my dressing table mirror’
It’s a familiar trope, but lifted out of the expected by that image: a room without books. And also the business of the teacher who might have crushed a lesser spirit…I loved the surprise of the child copying, from library books ‘images of ventricles’. No one will see that one coming . I loved the ‘moment’ of practising swimming on a stool in the kitchen. And I liked the ‘that was then and this is now’ structure of the poem that gives it its edge and purpose as it ends with a wistful return to the hopeful title. Lovely."