On Winning the Book & Pamphlet Competition
Some comment from previous winners of the competition:
The New Bride (2000 winner) — Forward Prize for Best First Collection, shortlist
"I'd had poems published in magazines and anthologies before...but this was different. This meant my own colourful 'slim volume'. my own ISBN. When the copies of The New Bride, in all their turquoise loveliness, arrived, I felt like the proud Mother of the Bride."
Oh My Rub! (2002 winner) — PBS Pamphlet Choice & one of the Guardian Books of the Year
"The publicity and reviews took my work seriously and I gained exposure in the PBS and the broadsheets, all this was entirely unexpected and absolutely thrilling. I still feel so excited to have been picked up by S/D at an early stage of my writing life."
No Theatre (1996 winner) — Forward Prize for Best First Collection, shortlist
"The first effect for me was disbelief, followed by anxiety then completely out of the blue by a Forward shortlisting. I was a tiny fish in the big Poetry Sea, but at least briefly I was swimming, and I owed it all to the Poetry Business."
A Belfast Kiss (1992 winner)
"It meant the world to me to win The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition at an early stage of my writing life. The competition has this extra quality of binding people together. In a strange way, it never feels competitive. It's about common values like quality, risk and truth."
Persian Miniatures (1990 winner)
"I remember working with Peter Sansom and Janet Fisher on my first ever manuscript, the enormous care and attention they gave to the work, and how much I learned from them about editing and redrafting and how to put a book together."
Cloves of Garlic (1988 winner)
"It was a wonderful boost of confidence for me, winning the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. It felt like a justification of the time I spent writing and an encouragement to keep going. It was the original and only pamphlet competition back then, and so it felt particularly significant — that being judged anonymously on a group of poems, not just a single one."
Peacock Luggage (1991 winner)
"The Poetry Business was a fairly solitary star in the firmament with its workshops and pamphlet prize forged in the Poetry Capital of England. I remember the slightly nervous pleasure of putting together a group of poems, thinking that, perhaps, the time was ripe to enter, but the delighted surprise when the Competition result letter arrived in the post on a sunny morning."
20th Century Blues (2006 winner)
"For an unpublished poet, the pamphlet is a stepping-stone; for the published poet, it's a crucial sign that there's more to come. Being judged by poets you admire is also important, as is the feeling that, when you submit a pamphlet, you're showing a little more of yourself, showing you can go the distance."
Something Small is Missing (1998 winner)
"The process of choosing and ordering poems for possible publication together – thinking of each poem as part of a developing process, a theme or narrative gave me a new focus for writing, then and now. Being selected by the Poetry Business judges gave me the confidence and motivation to work on towards a first full collection, to a career in poetry."
The Uses of Pepper (2002 winner)
"Being one of the winners of the Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2002 gave shape and form to a project that was only just setting out. Having the stamp of David Constantine, who was the judge that year, gave me confidence in the integirty of the project and set me in the right direction."