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Closed Gates or Open Arms? – The Verve Anthology of Community Poems

Authors: Joelle Taylor

Published by Verve Poetry Press

ISBN: 978 1 912565 17 7

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This book contains the winners and commended poems from the Verve Festival 2019 Community Themed Poetry Competition judged by Joelle Taylor. They are the best of a wonderful bunch of poems that we received from you from all over the UK, Europe and beyond from our own growing and incredible community of poets. In a strange way, as Joelle intimates in her introduction on the next pages, your poems, whether selected or otherwise, and you, are a community all your own!

Joelle was stunned with the quality of the submissions for this competition, and also quite surprised by the level of anguish contained within a lot of the poems we received. On reflection, it is no big surprise to find many poets looking outside of their poetry communities and beyond at the fractured and unravelling communities of the modern world with something like despair. This disgruntlement about current affairs can be found in the slightly sinister, quite angry prize-winning poems from Amy Acre, Jack Emsden and Oliver Fox (congratulations to all of you!) and into many of the commended poems featured here.

It also finds its way in quite different ways into the four commissioned poems that feature, from local poets of note from our region – Romalyn Ante, Charley Barnes, Kamil Mahmood and Oakley. We thanks you for the wonderful poems you have produced!

There is, it should be said, hope in these poems too, and poetry is certainly being held up as something that brings people together in supportive and cathartic ways. While we are trying to communicate, there must be hope for us and our communities. We hope you enjoy all the poems inside this wonderful anthology!

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