How many people know that the world famous International Welsh Poetry Competition began life in a small, independent pub, tucked away down a quiet side street in Pontypridd?
[EUPRwire, Thu Feb 10 2022] Founded by Welsh writer and poet Dave Lewis in 2007 the contest has been run and organised from the town ever since, is now in its sixteenth year and is the biggest poetry competition in Wales!
But what makes this competition so special? Some would say the judges, others the sheer quality of the winning entries but one thing is for sure the competition is here to stay.
This year's judge is famous Welsh writer, poet, filmmaker and environmental activist John Evans, who has played a big part. He judged the first two years and has returned on four other occasions choosing poems with subjects as diverse as 'the brutality of war', 'the plight of captive killer whales', 'Munch's The Scream' and 'vegetarianism'.
We have also had crime writer, and one of Wales' best poets, Sally Spedding, judging a few times too. Other judges have included Mike Jenkins, famous for his lively performances and writing workshops, celebrated children's writer Eloise Williams and Cardigan-based Bridport Prize winner Kathy Miles.
But maybe there is another reason why writers from all over the world love this humble contest that began life as a drunken conversation between Dave Lewis and John Evans in a Clwb Y Bont backroom at one o'clock in the morning, and that is its honesty and integrity. Unlike many competitions your poems are judged anonymously and no filter judges are used. This means a complete beginner can compete against a seasoned veteran. A successful, traditionally published author can fight it out with a unknown, self-published blogger.
"We offer true equality," says organizer Dave Lewis. "In a time when corporate greed and influence seem to infect every aspect of our lives and ruin the opportunity for the little guy to succeed the Welsh Poetry Competition is a rare beacon of hope," he continues.
"Both myself and John love the underdog and coming from a no-nonsense town like Pontypridd you know you're not going to get given anything for nothing, especially by the establishment that control the purse strings in Wales, so it's best you just strike out on your own and go for it."
The competition organizer, Dave Lewis, is resolutely untrendy. A well-respected poet himself he shuns the limelight and continues to self-publish his often avant-garde work rather than seek acceptance from the mainstream just so he can continue to push the boundaries of his art. He also runs the Poetry Book Awards, the Writers of Wales database and a small self-publishing company, called Publish & Print, where he helps other writers get into book form and realize their own ambitions.
The past has seen entrants from over 40 countries taking part and this year promises to be no different with £500 on offer to the winner, plus many other prizes for the chosen runners-up. The International Welsh Poetry Competition will once again punch above its weight in the literary calendar. If you want to enter just check out this year's contest on the official website - www.welshpoetry.co.uk
International Welsh Poetry Competition 2020
The 16th International Welsh Poetry Competition 2022 is now open and accepting entries!
1st Prize - £500
2nd Prize - £250
3rd Prize - £100
Judge - John Evans
Fee - £6 (via post / online)
Entry forms and all details on our website - www.welshpoetry.co.uk
Closing date - Sunday 29th May 2022
Good luck and we look forward to reading your entries.
Competition Web site - www.welshpoetry.co.uk
Organiser Web site - www.david-lewis.co.uk