Amy Wack shares what she will be looking for in the winning collections and other thoughts on The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition…



I agreed to judge The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition because I enjoy the pamphlet as a form, although Seren publish primarily full collections. It’s also an honour to be co-judging the competition alongside editors from other presses, and to be bracketed with the best!

One of my favourite poetry collections of 2018 was Zaffir Kunial’s Us (Faber). And I’ve recently been re-reading W. H. Auden, intrigued how the difficulties of the 1930’s seemed to shock him into a plainer-speaking yet shattering eloquence. There are historical parallels to the present.


What I will be looking for...

My advice for entrants submitting their collections this year is that a coherent thematic structure works best. I am always listening out to the music of the lines. I am a fan of form, rhyme and metre, it is evidence of reading and knowledge of the art. I also like a political and historical awareness but can also be moved by the personal. Go on, surprise me!

If you aren’t quite sure if you are ready to enter The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition, I would say, be fearless about accumulating rejection slips, fail better next time. Don’t submit if you think I will recognise you personally. And avoid cliché at all costs!


Amy Wack

Amy Wack was raised in California, attended San Diego State University and has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University in Manhattan. She has worked for Seren press since the early 90s. She was Reviews Editor for Poetry Wales magazine for fifteen years. Under her Editorship Seren has published many prize-winning poetry collections.

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