My ways are circumscribed, confined as a limpet
To one small radius of rock…
Has the coronavirus lockdown moved you to write some poetry? Do you have heartfelt experiences or inspirational moments from these last few months that are itching to get out there? Here’s your chance.
The Millom-based Norman Nicholson Society is now inviting anyone with the urge to compose a suitable poem to submit their work by September 1st, and be in with a chance of winning a specially engraved trophy, the official biography of Nicholson, and a copy of Nicholson’s ‘Selected Poems 1940-1982’ – plus publication of your work on the Society’s website.
The competition has two categories, for adults and under-18s.
Chair of the Norman Nicholson Society Charlie Lambert said: ‘These last few weeks have been a unique period in the lives of all of us. Many have suffered terrible distress, all have seen uplifting examples of heroism and determination. We have been reassessing old values and priorities. Some of us now have a closer understanding of what life was like for Norman Nicholson, stuck in his solitary room in a sanatorium for over a year. Whatever the lockdown has done for you, if you have a poem please share it with us. We will publish not just the winning entries but all commended poems, and we may go on to produce a book of these lockdown poems as well’.
Let the lockdown unlock your creativity!
Norman Nicholson knew all about lockdown decades before the word was invented. As a teenager he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent nearly two years in a sanatorium far from home in Hampshire, much of that time confined to his own room.
For years afterwards he had to safeguard his uncertain health by avoiding places where infection might lurk and spending long days alone in his attic bedroom where, in 1954, he wrote one of his best-known poems The Pot Geranium.
‘My ways are circumscribed,’ he wrote in the poem, ‘confined as a limpet / To one small radius of rock…’
Many of us now know exactly what he meant.
Prize for the winners: a trophy, a copy of Norman Nicholson’s ‘Selected Poems 1940-1982’, and a copy of ‘The Whispering Poet,’ the official biography of Norman Nicholson.
Closing date: September 1st 2020
Judge: KATHLEEN JONES Kathleen is a highly-regarded poet, novelist, biographer and broadcaster who is also a fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and vice-president of the Norman Nicholson Society.
CONDITIONS OF ENTRY
1 The competition is in two categories, Adult and Under-18s. Please state in your accompanying letter or email which category you are entering.
2 Poems should be in English, must not have been published either in print or on a website, nor be currently submitted or accepted for future publication. They must not have been awarded a prize in any other competition.
3 Poems must be your own original work and must on a subject relevant to, or inspired by, the coronavirus lockdown of 2020. The judge will read ALL poems entered. The decision of the judge is final.
4 Poems must be typed and no longer than 40 lines.
5 If sending poems by post, each poem must be on a separate sheet of paper, which must not bear your name or any other means of identification. On a separate sheet of paper, you should give your name and address and the title(s) of the poem(s) submitted.
6 If sending poems by email, each poem should be in a separate Word document, which must not bear your name or any other means of identification.
7 A maximum of four poems may be submitted per entrant.
8 We regret that we are unable to return poems, or amend them after entry.
9 The winner in each category will received a specially engraved trophy, a (pre-owned) copy of ‘Selected Poems 1940-1982’ by Norman Nicholson, published by Faber & Faber in 1982, and a (new) copy of ‘The Whispering Poet’, the official biography of Norman Nicholson by Kathleen Jones, published by The Book Mill in 2013. (Update 19/8/20: Kathleen has generously added a copy of the Bloodaxe anthology 'Being Human', edited by Neil Astley, to the prizes for the winner).
10 The closing date is 1 September 2020. Results will be announced in early October on the website of the Norman Nicholson Society, the Society’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and in a press release.
11 Copyright remains with the authors, but the Norman Nicholson Society reserves the right to publish winning and commended poems on the Society’s website, and in any book which may be produced as a direct result of this competition. If you would prefer your work not to be included in any book, please state this in your accompanying letter or email.
12 Members of the committee of the Norman Nicholson Society are not eligible to enter.
13 Entries by post should be sent to: Norman Nicholson Poetry Competition, 14 St George’s Terrace, Millom LA18 4DB. Entries by email should be sent to email@example.com
14 Names and contact details of entrants will be stored only for the duration of the competition and will be used only for communications relating to this competition. They will not be passed to any third parties.
Norman Nicholson Society July 2020