Had I really won?
This year I was a winner of the Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize. Part of the prize is a publishing contract; my pamphlet will be published in 2016. I thought following the process, from hearing I had won through to publication, might be something worth following in occasional blogs. Here is the first piece on following ‘Codes of Conduct’ through to publication.
In May of this year I returned from holiday to the following email:
The longlist for the pamphlet competition was very long, but we whittled it down to … (poets and titles listed)
The four winning pamphlets were: Louisa Adjoa Parker – Blinking in the light; Neil Elder – Codes of Conduct; Kevin Mills – Stations of the Boar; Louise Warren – In the scullery with John Keats.
Congratulations to the winners, whose pamphlets will be published in February 2016.
I was (still am) delighted, though somewhat dazed, and I hastily sent a response to Jan Fortune, the editor of Cinnamon Press, expressing my sentiments. Despite my excitement I told only my wife and a friend; I wanted to be certain there was no error before I made a noise about my news.
Then doubt crept in. I became convinced that the fact that some of the poems in my pamphlet entry had been published elsewhere as single poems would be a problem. I scanned the rules of the competition again and again but there was no mention of the matter concerning previously published poems (there are publishers and competitions where previous publication will be a problem). Even though the comments from Ian Gregson, competition judge , were on the website, I still fretted about things.
I was keeping quiet about the win and waiting for something more solid from Cinnamon when I received congratulations via Facebook and by email from Hannah Lowe and Mona Arshi. Wait a minute, I thought, if they know about the win (and I still don’t know how they knew) then perhaps I better get proactive and contact Jan at Cinnamon myself, telling her some of the poems had appeared elsewhere. I would soon know if I could relax and celebrate or feel sorry for myself – either way I’d know if congratulations from other poets were due. Jan’s response was wonderfully positive and I finally had pleasure in telling people about the pamphlet.