RESULTS OF THE FIRST ACUMEN INTERNATIONAL
Adriana Morgan – Stupid Smiles
Walking in Central Park in October,
among those hundreds of pumpkins smiling at you with their
silly grins as if oblivious to being beheaded, and people having dug their brains out
with stainless steel spoons, and having placed candles inside, yes fucking candles
burning inside their heads,
walking among long rows of pumpkins smiling stupid smiles
carved from side to side in their orange faces
in a dream-like scenery
of golden-copper-scarlet leaves is an extraordinary
experience everyone has to live at least once in their life, according to
my cousin Maria who returned from New York City two months ago and keeps
talking about it
every day since, as if we’ve never seen pumpkins here in Romania and we don’t have
golden-copper-scarlet leaves falling from our trees, but no one dares
tell her anything, because she crossed the High Line in Manhattan,
attended a gospel mass in Harlem, and house-gawked in Queens,
moreover, she’s seen The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
—even if I, personally, think she just read the script and she’s
making up the whole story to impress her classmates, as if we
don’t have phantoms here in Romania, or vampires, even
better, we have Dracula, and who can beat that? I wonder, but anyway,
I’m sure she’s not lying about eating in that fancy restaurant La Grenouille
on Fifth Avenue, she couldn’t possibly have imagined all those
and that delicious frog soup,
as though we don’t have frogs in Romania,
as if she never rubbed her hands with alcohol after
touching one by mistake, afraid to grow warts,
but we keep silent because she’s been to the Bronx and got lost
and a dodgy guy with shaking hands put a sharp knife to her throat
and she had to give him all her money, so
everyone admired her guts for escaping alive,
as if we don’t have knives here in Romania, even better,
our hands aren’t shaking when we stick them into our pigs’ throats to slaughter them
for Christmas, oh, gosh! their heartbreaking screams pierce my ears
from under my blanket and I picture the gurgling, steamy blood flowing
in the melting snow, and people laughing around
as they know they’ll eat sausages and sarmale and blood pudding the whole winter,
thanks to those chubby pigs, no wonder they’re fat after eating hundreds of
pumpkins, but I’m not crying over those pumpkins, at least they served
to satiate the pigs’ hunger, and my family’s hunger, which is a noble fate,
if you think about it, much better than being beheaded, having your brain
scooped out and having to smile stupid smiles forever carved into your
face from side to side in Central Park, where I’ll never put my feet
and walk on golden-copper-scarlet leaves, no matter how much
I cried and begged my father not to cut Costica’s thick, throbbing throat
this Christmas, but to sell him instead and buy me
a one-way ticket to New York.
Kerrin P. Sharpe – blue
Graham Burchell – Mr & Mrs Amun
Acumen subscriber prize:
Kathy Miles – Lamping
Highly Commended Poems and poets (in alphabetical order):
Michaela Coplen – Airline Miles
David Evans – Turnips
Jane Kirwan – Mystery
Jonathan McMahon – Over the Top
Laura Theis – All That is Left of Liv
Alex Toms – Paracetamol
Commended Poems and poets (in alphabetical order):
Gail Anderson – To Bessie Smith
Mike Barlow – Escapees
Maggie Butt – Gauge
Eve Jackson – Beyond a Dream
M. R. Peacocke – Sweet Thames Run Softly
Linda Saunders – Handyman
Thomasson Taylor – To Asma
Dominic Weston – I’ll Give You Something to Think About
Jim C. Wilson – Miss Smith at Home
Marc Woodward – Leaving Switzerland
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE JUDGES WHO HAVE WORKED HARD ON OVER 1100 POEMS!
The moment lock-down is over we intend to have an Acumen Gala Reading where all the poets who can be present will read their poems and everybody can celebrate with wine and nibbles
How to enter next year
- By post: Download an Entry Form here, complete and return with your poem(s) and fee.
- Compete the Entry Form alongside, attach the file with your poems (If you are entering more than one poem, please put all poems on separate sheets in one Word file) , tick to agree to the rules and then click ‘send’.
- Pay the entry fee by clicking ‘Add to Cart’ for 1 poem or 5 poems. then click ‘Shopping Cart’ at the top of the page and checkout.
- Poems must be original, have a title, be unpublished or not accepted for publication. They should be written in English and not exceed 50 lines.
- Each poem must be typed, single-spaced on one side of A4 paper which must not bear the name of the author or any form of identification. The titles of poems and name and address of the poet should be clearly listed on the entry form or a separate sheet of paper.
- The entry fee is £5.00 per poem, or 5 poems for £20.00. Current subscribers to Acumen (including those subscribing with entry) can enter one extra free poem.
- Receipt of entry will be acknowledged if a stamped, addressed postcard marked ‘Receipt’ is enclosed with postal entries.
- A list of winners will be sent if a stamped addressed envelope marked ‘Prizewinners’ is enclosed with postal entries.
- Copyright will remain with the author, but the organisers reserve the right to publish any of the winning or commended poems up to one year after the end of the competition.
- The awards will be announced at a Prize giving party in London. The winning poets will be notified in advance and invited to attend. All short-listed poets will be invited to read their short-listed entry.
- The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the results. The poems will not be returned.
- The organisers reserve the right to return poems and entry fees if the need arises.
- Neither the judge nor organisers are eligible to enter the competition.
- The judges will read ALL the entries.
- Cheques/POs should be made payable to Acumen Publications and sent together with the poems and author’s details to:
The Administrator, c/o 6 The Mount, Brixham, South Devon TQ5 8QY, UK. Envelopes should be clearly marked ‘Acumen International Poetry Competition’
E-mail entries to arrive by 6.00pm 28 February 2020