Trapped, poem for John Lennon

This poem got nowhere in the recent John Lennon poetry competition. Want to give me some feedback? Is it a dud? Or shall I keep it? I quite like it.


For John Lennon

This poem is now published in The Recusant. Catch it there.



Filed under poetry, Writing challenges

9 responses to “Trapped, poem for John Lennon

  1. I’d say, for a poem about a musician it’s too much words and too little music. It feels kinda crowded with words, which I know is a daft thing to say of a poem but the best I can do, and the long lines and rigid quatrain form don’t dance enough. But that’s not very helpful, I know – I don’t know how to do it better, except that I’d start with a different form/layout.

  2. Angela,

    I had a look at your poem and thought it was very good, for what that’s worth. The trouble is that the competition probably attracted an entry of thousands, if not tens of thousands, given the publicity surrounding it & the popularity of the subject. Ergo, there were arguably, say, between three and five hundred ‘very good’ poems, so with a shortlist of 12, an awful lot of commendable stuff was always going to miss out.
    In the end, the only thing to do is to keep trying. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it, as they say.

  3. Thanks both of you. I concentrated on the man not the legend, that might not have helped. But I am given to understand that the majority of competition entries are no good. I have judged some myself, mostly children’s ones, and I am aware that sifting happens behind the scenes. I judged on the Wirral once long ago with Matt Simpson and another person, and we found the standard disappointing, so we asked to see ALL the entries and found our winners in the slush pile – they were the best poems, though not in the neatest handwriting. Often entries with unusual angles are dismissed.

  4. mary braithwaite

    That poem brings us in the last lines into beautiful imagery of our lost hero. It is far from run-of -the mill poetry.
    ‘red blooms on a white life’..that poem deserved to be short-listed.

  5. Because poetry is so subjective you can never second guess what a judge will – or won’t – go for. I found it hard, ahving read up about JL, to write anything that wasn’t damning so I didn’t even enter it.

    • I visited both the houses in the summer and was struck by how much more I felt at home in Paul’s house. Poor Mimi, she didn’t quite get it. I am glad to have written the poem, and it has now been published by The Recusant. I don’t normally do competitions but decided to do a few this year. I don’t think I will be repeating the experiment.

  6. The defiant ending about how his legacy is omni-present on discs and albums is powerful. He deserves a poem or two and he has had them but I have not read one this good.

  7. its a very powerful poem which brings his personal life into perspective with a great ending, not sure about the other poems but I’m surprised it wasn’t shortlisted as I expect the others concentrated on his music and fame.