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Vol.3. No. 4. July - September 2010





Afam Akeh
Andy Willoughby
Claire Girvan
Christian Ward
Derek Adams
Esiaba Irobi
Hannah Lowe
Hunter Liguore
Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye
Karunamay Sinha
Kate Horsley
Laura Solomon
Lookman Sanusi
Malcolm Bray
Mark Lewis
Moa-Aaricia Lindunger
N Quentin Woolf
Nina Romano
Nnorom Azuonye
Norbert O. Eze
Olu Oguibe
Pius Adesanmi
Robert Lee Frazier
Toyin Adepoju
Uche Nduka
Wayne Scheer
Zino Asalor

Edited by

Andy Willoughby

and Bob Beagrie


This issue of SLQ is dedicated to the memory of

ESIABA IROBI (1960 - 2010)



Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition July 2010


Judges report


By Derek Adams


It was enjoyable reading so many interesting poems, but it was hard work judging the competition, there were a lot of very good poems entered, and getting it down to a shortlist of 25 was hard, let alone the last 15.


I read the short listed 25 over and over again, it was difficult to choose the winners but in the end the same poems kept catching my eye, so here they are…


First Prize: Eleonora of Toledo laughs at a pantomime dildo

Well the title stood out for a start! When I read this poem the first time I was struck by the direct language. Unaware of whom Eleonora of Toledo was, I didn’t need to know, because I had a delightfully human portrait of her here in the poem. Pregnant with her eighth child, at the theatre, laughing at the sight of the giant’s wooden appendage “bursting out so unexpectedly,” the baby’s kicks “chiding her bawdiness”. In the third stanza we get the throwaway piece of information “quite soon / they'll die of fever”, which is chillingly echoed in the last lines, “fine gold threads nosing from black silk / like grave worms.” This is the work of a skilled poet, perfectly constructed line endings and some subtle internal rhymes.


Second prize: Ink

I liked the way this poem meanders between the domestic (buying fetish gear in the market, lunch with friends, opening the post) and the cosmopolitan (Columbians writing love messages on bank note, Iranian students protesting on bank notes, an Asylum seeker in L.A) without losing its way. The narrator paints her “life in lurid detail” to make her friends jealous, but this is a front, she hints that not everything is alright. We hear of people “never stop moving”, fleeing, “taking off”, an estranged father who has moved on. All this anxiety is focused on Tor (mentioned only in the first and last stanzas) who has gone of to the fetish ball “to collect her award.” The relationship between these two is not explicit, daughter or partner? The narrator stays up all night waiting for Tor to come home. The ink that runs through the poem (on bank notes, in notebooks) appears as tattoo of a dollar sign on Tor’s arm which smudges when rubbed with the narrators licked finger; once again reminding us not everything is what it seems, not even this is permanent.


Third prize: Civvies

This story of a school trip to the Imperial War Museum is wonderfully paced, it hooked me with its first sentence, then reeled me slowly through incident after incident to land me with a great last line. I don’t know if the poet is a teacher, but this poem has authenticity, even if it is all made up, we believe in it. Even if, sadly, “Nobody chewed the words / of "Dulce et Decorum est" thoroughly.”


Highly commended:


Contemplation Over the After Eights, a poem of food and murder, what’s not to like! Right from the start this poem has a darkness beneath each stanza’s description of a restaurant meal and when it gets violent, it is turned into a food metaphor. This is a poem that builds well and has a climax that makes you look back into the poem.


Mother, a poem of a mother suffering a bout of post-natal reality, feeling alone, missing adult company, instead she has “big tearful, trustful eyes” that “follow her around like guilt.” She also misses her own body, replaced by heavy breasts and a “deflated belly”. I particularly like the sense of unease left by the last line,


Climate Change, is a nicely constructed three act poem. Starting with the domestic, a fridge with a “faulty thermostat.” Moving on to the global “Species / on the verge of extinction.” Then turning to the personal, in the “trapped / heat of a previous relationship.” Clinched with a good last line.


Moving pictures, this is a truly clever little poem that can be read two ways, literally. Constructed in two columns side by side, which can be read vertically down each column separately or read across the two columns horizontally. Either way you get a satisfying little poem.








SPQ #2





Sentinel Literary Quarterly is Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement | Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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