Teacher wins Yorkshire poetry contest

The winner of this year's Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition was a runner-up three times previously and took up poetry because it fitted in with her busy lifestyle.

Teacher Carole Bromley was announced as winner of the Yorkshire Post-sponsored contest on Saturday by poet David Harsent, the sole judge.

Mrs Bromley, 59, of York, wrote her winning entry, In Another Life, at a workshop in London.

She said: "The poem actually came out of an exercise during the workshop. We were writing about someone we had not seen in a while and a place we would like to take them to. I often find that writing exercises can really work magic for me."

Her writing began when she worked as an English teacher at All Saints School and took her students to the Arvon Foundation course, a writers' retreat at Hebden Bridge.

"When I went on the courses I met lots of poets and just started tinkering with my own work," Mrs Bromley said.

A holder of an M.Phil in writing, she is a part-time teacher of adults at York College, where she found that writing poetry fitted into her hectic lifestyle.

"As the mother of four children, short stories and poems were easy for me to fit in. I don't think I would have had the time to write anything longer."

She began entering poetry competitions about 10 years ago and has won or been a runner-up in 30. In 2005 she won the Bridport poetry competition, judged by poet laureate Andrew Motion.

The Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition attracts over 1,500 entries annually from around the world. It was founded by friends who attended poetry workshops in York. This year's was the 23rd.

There are three main prizes, 15 runners-up prizes and a Yorkshire Prize named after a founder, Leslie Richardson, which is open to those living in Yorkshire.

The winners were announced at St Williams College, York, where Mr Harsent read a selection of the winning entries and ran a poetry workshop.

Mr Harsent, a Distinguished Writing Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University and winner of the TS Eliot Award for poetry, praised Mrs Bromley's style and said: "Her poem is poignant without lapsing into sentimentality."

Second prize went to Kent-based Keith Francis for I Was in the Pub at Lunchtime and third to Jane Seabourne, of Wolverhampton, for Sometimes, in these Her Days of Pleasant Confusion. The Yorkshire Prize went to Frank Brindle, of Mirfield, for South Walney Island.

Next page: read the poems

How the winners were chosen In Another Life

Winner of the Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition Carole Bromley, of York.

I would have liked to take you to Pyramid Lake.

If you went there you'd understand why.

It's something about the greenness.

All those different greens

upside down in the still blue water.

And the quiet. Never such quiet anywhere.

Your could hear a bird's wings,

the needles dropping from the pines,

the sudden somersaults of fish.

And the smell of snow makes you test the air

like one of those fallow deer at the edge

of the lake, sensing danger.

I would have liked to sit with you

on the driftwood and just look

until it grew dark and a bear appeared perhaps

and we didn't move.

It would have to be autumn;

I don't know why, maybe for the colours

which are more intense for a while

like lovers who are about to part.

I like to imagine you there in your green shirt

lighting a cigarette, the quick, brave flare of it in the dark.

Yorkshire Prize:

South WaIney Island

By Frank Brindle

. . . . . . . . and the long strand was littered with bones

cut or broken

that seemed too thick to be gulls, but honey-combed like birds' bones

and curved, with a twist in their length

like a rope

and the yellow-horned poppy, the ragwort

the slender thistles thrived

on pebbles of bird-droppings thick on the sand

and the gulls wheeled and cried

plaintive and constant

and trash from the sea,

now withdrawn,

lay round us, with feathers and carcasses

casual, forlorn

of the un-birds; the once-birds


Next page: more poems I was in the pub at lunchtime

By Keith Francis

sharing an apple with Ange

fair bite for bite from each other's hand

and a geezer says that reminds him

of him when young and on the lam from National Service, doing what you can

when you're dodgy, being an undertaker's man and this once they went off in the hearse some distance to a weepy widow's house

on a boiling day in June to collect the stiff which they couldn't quite stuff

inside the coffin, his leg was bent when

he took his last pinch of snuff,

and for some time the widow'd been

pretty loath to let her old chap go,

so the boss reached in his jacket

gets this clasp knife out his pocket

and cuts the tendon through

till the leg slumps flat ,,

and going home they stops up

in a lay-by to eat their snap

and his boss man has an apple,

now back then you couldn't hardly get

an apple out of season, so the undertaker pulls the clasp knife out and cuts

the apple in two and offers

our bloke a choice of halves

which he finds himself

quite able to refuse,

it seems from the way he eats

the boss is very fond of apples,

we laugh and I takes me roll-up tin

and pushes it across wide open

and he helped himself

rolling a fag of very modest girth

but by then me and Ange

were thinking hard of something else

and we walked out in the hot June sun

she in the sort of cotton summer dress

that looks so good all you thinks of

is taking it off.

Sometimes, in these her days of pleasant confusion

By Jane Seabourne

She remembers where she put her teeth,

recites the genealogy of neighbours back to Adam, recalls with lyrical clarity the day

she saw an aeroplane for the first time.

Some days she tells anyone who'll listen

she's never been undressed by a man.

Some days she wears two bras.

Some days she'll tell you straight off

the day of the week and

the name of the prime minister.

Some days, she picks up the thread of a story

about a woman she knew with withered ovaries

but it peters out before the end.

And some days, she only gives away

her mother's maiden name and co-op number.