Results of the Religious Poetry Competition 2012

Published: 08 October 2012

We are delighted to announce that the Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year 2012, and winner of first prize in the competition, is Sheila Wild with her poem, ‘Barabbas’. Congratulations!

On her poem, Sheila writes: ‘The first draft of this poem was an attempt to re-invoke the lost symbolism of the many medieval and Renaissance paintings of the crucifixion I had seen in Italian churches. In England we have largely forgotten the language of gesture and sightline, and the meaning of the birds that watch silently from the margins. I asked myself, if I were a painter, which bird would best signify the enormity of the crucifixion? The goldfinch, with its telling splat of red? To write the scene from the standpoint of Christ or His Mother felt arrogant. The goldfinches lighted on Barabbas. Initially I resisted, wanting something more abstract, less distractingly human. But the presence of Barabbas became stronger and stronger. His sense of shame and the way it came to fill the poem took me by surprise, and I learnt from it.’

Many congratulations also go to Tammy Herman and Helen Luson, who won second and third prize, respectively. The seven runners-up were Denise Barratt, Martyn Halsall, Ruth Hobson, Rosie Garland, David Day, Phil Isherwood and Marie Naughton.

The three prize-winning poems and the seven runners-up are available in the new Poetry Competition booklet. To order, please send a cheque or postal order for £4.00 made payable to Manchester Cathedral, to Religious Poetry Competition, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, M3 1SX

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