Poet and journalist William Hatchett was a favourite of the judges, with his poem Leaving Home coming first in the poetry category. Now he finds himself on the other side, and is joining the Hammond House judging team for the 2020 competition! Hammond House team member Alex recently spoke to him about what he's looking for from entrants into the poetry category.
As a judge, what are you looking for in a poem?
Originality. The form or words of a poem may actually be unpolished. The poetry is the light that shines through them.
What advice would you give to people entering the 2020 competition?
You don’t need a special writing chair, you don’t need a golden pen, or moonlight, or a moleskin notebook. You simply need to have something to say. Some poems ‘just happen’. But generally they don’t. You need to create the conditions for inspiration. Entering a competition comes under that heading. Never be discouraged. I love what Samuel Beckett said: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Inspired to do some writing? Find out more about the 2020 competition and enter here.