Joint runner-up in Stanza Poetry Competition 2018, on the theme of 'Tradition', judged by Penelope Shuttle. Penelope: The poem proceeds by a very closely observed ritualized description of the porridge-making. A well-chosen form (one long line and one short line in each couplet, giving a lovely measured pace to the poem) brings a sense of continuity; we realise that we are visiting the past (‘marvel at the pale yellow elephant on the front….’ of the porridge box. The title is witty and apposite, and the spatial detail and tactile process of the poem are a marvel. This is a celebratory poem, mouth-watering, full of relish, a praise poem. Helen: There is something meditative about cooking porridge, something comforting about the small details involved in finding the saucepan, measuring out the oats, adding just the right amount of water, stirring the mixture and watching the transformation take place. Early drafts of the poem began with the immediate present-day process and gradually elements of the past such as the Woolworth's Willow Pattern, the spurtle and memories from school geography lessons insisted on being present. As the poem took shape, the sense of having made landfall began to unfold.

Landfall at daybreak

by Helen Overell

Fetch a saucepan – the small even-handed one with a lip
on either side,

find the flat wooden stirrer, or better still, use the spurtle
Granddad made,

take the rolled oats from the cupboard – the nearest
stout paper packet –

marvel at the pale yellow elephant on the front, outlined
in bright blue,

look for a cup to match the everyday bowls – Willow Pattern,
Woolworth’s best,

fill to the brim with whisper of harvest sprung from earth,
rain and sunlight,

pour into the pan, listen as the soft scurried patter settles
to speckled hush,

add water, use a double measure – plus a dash more – watch
clarity turn to cloud,

place on the burner, stir, feel like the silken swirl begin to chafe
at bubble-burst,

turn the flame right down, cook until resist-of-thicken clings –
this is porridge –

pour into your bowl, mine, deep trails undo, moraines merge
flat and firm,

sprinkle a little brown sugar on top, add just a splash of milk,
a sea of white

floods an island that floats – now, here’s a spoon, sit and eat,
begin at the shore.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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See ten amazing poets in one inspirational night of poetry Everyone who attends will be invited to submit a free poem to National Poetry Competition 2019 20th March 2019, 730pm, Kings Place, London Book now at bit.ly/npc40anniversa…

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Everyone who attends will be invited to submit a free poem to National Poetry Competition 2019

20th March 2019, 730pm, Kings Place, London 

Book now at https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/hJ90YkfeU5

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test Twitter Media - Listen to former Foyle Young Poet of the Year winner @PhoebePower @Carcanet reading from T S Eliot shortlisted Shrines of Upper Austria on @R3TheVerb @IMcMillan 48 minutes in - https://t.co/TzwNSumxuN https://t.co/S4RclTM63P

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Reading Mary Oliver's poems in my early twenties changed me. She wrote about "the difference between doing nothing, or doing a little, and the redemptive act of true effort". Her words made me realise that I could - in spite of queer shame - carve out a "wild and precious life." twitter.com/BloodaxeBooks/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

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