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Patricia Schonstein

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Patricia Schonstein Poetry in McGregor Award

It has been my privilege, since 2013, to curate the Poetry in McGregor Festival’s annual anthology. These anthologies honour the presenting poets; grant longevity to the Festival of that year; and capture at least some of the magic for people unable to attend.

Curating the anthologies has brought me into close contact with the poets who’ve read on the main programme of each year; and at the Open Mic sessions. What I always experience, in working with them, is their sincerity and generosity as they give to us of their creative selves.

I am often asked why I publish poetry, a genre which ‘does not sell’ and which has no financial-backbone.

We live in dark times. The Apocalypse is not ‘coming’– it is here already. We are within it and we should respond accordingly. We should live restoratively; cutting down on our debris; living through love; turning our weapons into ploughshares; expunging tyranny from the human narrative. We should cease in our destruction of the natural world, which is not ours to rape and loot, as we believe it to be. We should acknowledge that the whole of Creation is sacred. Above all, we should be seeking Light over Darkness. It is late in the day and the sweet-oil of our lamps will soon be consumed, if we do not take heed.

The question arises: But how does an individual mobilise Light so as to overcome the Darkness of Apocalypse? Well, Light can be done in small measure. Poetry is such small measure. Think of it as glitter – tiny-tiny shards of Light – all of which come from the soul; all of which come from the creative fountain of human nature.

The Poet works with creativity; with the opposite of destruction. So it is a pleasure to work in their milieu; and it is with a sense of honour that I place my name on a new poetry prize: “The Patricia Schonstein Poetry in McGregor Award”.

All poets published in the Poetry in McGregor Anthologies of 2013 to 2016 were considered for the Award, which was granted ‘retrospectively’ and presented at the recent Poetry in McGregor 2017 Festival.

Winner 2013: Graham Dukas
Winner 2014: Justin Fox
Winner 2015: Margaret Clough
Winner 2016: Gaireyah Fredericks
Acclaim 2016: Hugh Hodge for his Service to Poetry through his Off-the-Wall events
Acclaim 2016: James Matthews for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry
Acclaim 2016: Anne Schuster for her Service to Poetry through mentorship

Photo: Graham Dukas reads at Poetry in McGregor 2017 Festival


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