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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis


Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Here are our three winners in the 'Highly Commended' category (all from the north of England!):

'Thirteen' by Natalie Crick

Julie is still mine – but maybe

only for another year, or less.

Her window is open and she is looking

past me, to the end of the road,

where the streetlamp glows sodium pink

where the road meets the dark sports field

where the boys have gathered

in black hoods to smoke, their breath

wisps of smut kisses.

I put my hands into Mam’s

Sunday meat in the big pot

just to feel the blood.

There may not be a reason why

Natalie Crick (Newcastle, UK) has poems published in The Moth, Banshee, The Dark Horse, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. She is studying for an MPhil in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Last year one of Natalie's poems was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020 and awarded second prize in the Newcastle Poetry Competition 2020. This year a poem was highly commended in the Folklore Poetry Prize and highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award. Natalie is co-founder / poetry editor of a small literary press based in Newcastle and Prague, Fragmented Voices.

'the knife' by Jane Kite

the knife in the kitchen drawer

was just an impulse away

it was mild steel

made in Sheffield

six inches of blade and had appeared

in my mind insistently for weeks

had to gather my nerve

had to be quick

took it and put it

in a strong brown envelope

the knife

and like a mad woman

wrapped it in layers of newspaper

as you would broken glass

layer on layer of protection

like the parcel at a children’s party

then string round