The Inpress London Book Fair Poetry Prize 2016
Inpress are delighted to announce the winner of the Inpress London Book Fair Poetry Pavilion Prize 2016. The theme for this year’s prize entry was INTERNATIONALISM and it was judged by Amy Wack, poet and poetry editor at Seren Books.
We welcomed entries from anyone who works in the international book industry or who is attending or working at the London Book Fair as an exhibitor, visitor, student, stand builder, caterer, designer, cloakroom attendant, author, speake.
First prize was awarded to Jacqueline Saphra's poem ‘Cheap Late Night Fusion and How the World will End’, with second place being claimed by 'Coarse fishing with the President' by Mark Fiddes.
Cheap Late Night Fusion and How the World will End
With poison, I suggest. We must avoid tuna:
top of the food chain, mercury-infused, GM crops
and phosphates, beef pumped full of hormones,
milk shot through with penicillin. Over soup,
here’s news: my daughter’s learning
Mandarin, my dog is into broccoli, I never win,
the Chinese coal refineries spew their waste
into the Pacific; hence my tuna crisis. Ava
tells me tales of OK Cupid, stupid bosses,
false economies, her cat, while two night workers
dressed in day-glo knock back silent shots of sake;
perhaps they’re listening to us. Bird flu, I posit,
warming to my audience, as their wooden swan
sails in, its fishy pink and orange cargo glowing;
will they eat that? It doesn’t look too fresh.
Ava’s sceptical: even bubonic plague was just
a passing purge. I’m hungry but my Tom Yum
doesn’t smell so good, nor her miso. Ah, fusion:
always a risk. The two men do their quiet thing
with chopsticks: maybe they’re intrigued to hear
our conversation: poetry and sex, the bitterness
of prizes, wages of success, doomsday of course:
always a winner. Water wars, I suddenly suggest.
Ava looks up. That’s more than possible she says.
The two stewed men begin to laugh. At us? I smile
across the tables’ distance, hoping they don’t take it
the wrong way. The grey one raises his glass.
Alarmed, I fiddle with my hair, look out into the dark.
Ava, meanwhile, lists the obvious: climate change,
nuclear apocalypse or meteors; takes out
her phone, shows me a photo of a bloke she met
on match.com. I place my bets on loneliness:
extemporise on babies wasting in their cots
for want of touch, citing some article I read.
The staff are closing up, time to re-enter night.
I say this world will end from lack of love
and all its fallout. Bah, says Ava, if that was it,
we’d all be long gone. This one’s on me.
She lays her money on the table, takes my arm.
Coarse fishing with the President
“Why the bare chest Mr Putin?”
Behind us, salmon bounce the falls
Sideways, backwards, upside down
Flipping as if the rocks were sizzling.
He’s giving me that whipped dog look.
“You must feel the sun upon your heart.
It is Russian sun so it makes you strong
Like a bear or a city or a larch.”
Anti-machismo snow starts to fall
In big doily cake shop flakes
That fade on his oh-so-tattoo-able torso,
slippery clean as a hard-boiled egg.
The salmon now vault like acrobats
In harlequin jackets flashing on and off.
Putin slips down his camouflage fatigues
To silver underpants, legs like trees.
“In Russia, our fish don’t swim,
They dance. All animals dance by law.
Even our donkeys and foxes.”
Now we’re at the abyss, how will he fish?
A rod and fly, maybe strangulation?
A couple of grenades would do the job
Although crossbow is more his style.
But it’s too late. A spiked fin protrudes
From his chest and rainbow scales glitter
Around his neck and scalp. His feet
Have ribbed into a mottled fan.
The President of the Russian Federation
Scythes through the thundering spume
To gavotte around a pink bellied sockeye
Who Merkels back with quivering gills.