Feb 7, 2019

Meet the Judges: Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt shares what he will be looking for in the winning collections and other thoughts on The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition…




The last time I judged this prize I ‘discovered’ Mimi Khalvati. It seemed a good time to judge the prize again when I was invited. There are sometimes wonderful things to be found, though sometimes, of course, the well is quite empty. I’m very glad to be judging alongside Neil Astley and Amy Wack and to be joining such an experienced and clear-headed crowd.


What I will be looking for...

I’m not looking for anything in the winning collections in particular. If I find interesting/compelling patterning I will feel rewarded. My advice to those entrants submitting their collections this year is that it is not a gamble, it’s a question of quality. The only time one should submit work is when one is confident that it is genuinely good and can maybe even say why. 

Prospective entrants should read a lot, and read the same poems over and over. Ideally poems that are not brand new, even poems from the seventeenth century can be read with pleasure and profit, and recited.


Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt, OBE FRSL, is the founder and editorial director of Carcanet Press and General Editor of PN Review and is currently teaching at the University of Manchester, having been Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University and then at the University of Glasgow, and writer in residence at St John's College, Cambridge. He is a poet, novelist, literary historian and anthologist.


The deadline for entries to the 2018/19 International Book & Pamphlet Competition is Friday 1st March 2019. For more information, or to submit your entry, visit the competition page on our website. 

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