‘Poetry doesn't just belong in the library or on the bookshelf, it’s part of our everyday lives,' says award-winning poet Roger McGough. At Waitrose, we couldn’t agree more.
To celebrate the written verse, more than 2,000 people have put pen to paper in the first round of the Waitrose poetry competition, for a chance to have their witty ditties featured in Waitrose stores, alongside Roger McGoughs.
McGough, who whittled a shortlist of 12 chosen poems down to the final 6 winners said he wasn’t surprised by the huge number of entries. ‘Poetry has always been quite popular, it’s just that people are rarely given the opportunity to express it'.
Round 1 Winners
It was the pear that Blue Mitra had for breakfast that inspired her winning poem. After eating the fruit, the seven-year-old came up with the four-liner in minutes.
Her mum, Annabel Meggeson, said: ‘Blue loves poems, she's delighted and so proud. I read all my children poems, which they sometimes object to, but secretly they really quite like it!'
All the family submitted a poem, but it was Blue’s that McGough included in the winning six.
Pears by Blue Mitra
The pear tree’s fruit is yummy.
I want it in my tummy.
I pick a bag and turn to Mummy:
‘They’re healthy and they’re scrummy!’
Fishing 4 Questions by Judy Ashby Pickford
Are Dover soles for Kentish feet?
Do bloaters make you fat?
Is there a plaice for everything?
Can I have my stickle back?
It was first time lucky for Judy Ashby Pickford, who has never entered a poetry competition before. She said: ‘I am astonished about winning. This was a one-off.'
The 75-year-old from Salisbury, Wiltshire, saw the competition after her neighbour dropped a copy of Weekend through her door.
‘I got the idea “Are Dover soles for Kentish feet?” and I liked it and I thought I could go on from there,’ she said.
A grandson’s birthday was the inspiration for a poem by Barbara Lucas. ‘My grandson James was having his sixth birthday party on 10th May and he loves fruit and strawberries’ she said.
The 74-year-old from Colchester, Essex, has written poetry over the years but not had anything published. She said: ‘I’ve got 4 children and 2 grandchildren, so I’ve often made up rhymes to amuse them, like you do with children.’
Strawberry by Barbara Lucas
I wanted to go to your party
I can’t tell you how sorry I am
I wanted to sit in your dish served with cream
But I got caught in a strawberry jam
The wedding by Thérèse Tarallo
If you were an apple and I was a pear,
We could get married a small affair,
Just a few guests modest and humble,
Then set up home in a nice warm crumble.
Roger McGough’s advice on how to write poetry inspired Thérèse Tarallo so much she has been writing poems ever since.
The retired support worker for adults with learning disabilities had not written any poems for years before she saw details of the competition.
She said: ‘I’ve written six or seven since then, I can’t stop.’
The idea of how foods can break was the starting point for Joan Seaman.
She said: ‘A phrase popped into my mind, about apples crumbling, so I thought about other sorts of breakages, and went from there.’
The 70-year-old, who lives in Oundle near Peterborough, said: ‘I love words, I’m a failed writer really. I always wanted to write but I have never got round to it. So I write poems and keep them in a little book.'
Breakable eatables by Joan Seaman
Oranges squash + chocolate flakes
Bananas split + coffee breaks
Creals snap + apples crumble
Potatoes chip + tummies rumble
Party food by Sally Lucas
I am a quaking jellyfish,
Captured quite in error
And now sit in a trifle dish
Gazing up in terror.
Please don’t eat me with your cake
Or swallow with a cuppa;
It would be my sad mistake
To sting for your supper.
Sally Lucas is a member of a group that reads poetry, but has never told her friends she writes poems herself. She said: ‘I’d be scared they’d make me read one out!’
The 67-year-old, who lives near Dartford, Kent, has loved poetry since she was a child and been writing it since she was 13.
She added: ‘I love the poems Roger McGough wrote for Waitrose, they give people a lift and they make people smile and that is what poetry should do.’
The retired aromatherapist said her poem about a jellyfish just popped into her head and evolved.
‘If you are doing something that rhymes, words will present themselves,’ she said.
Your poetry, please
Now is your chance to channel your inner poet and have your poems published in store, online and in Waitrose Weekend.
Each month, McGough will choose 6 poems sent in by you to feature alongside his own. From the 4 rounds of the competition, McGough will choose an overall first, second and third place, to be announced on 2 October, which is National Poetry Day.
Not sure where to start with your own poem? Follow McGough’s advice.
‘People have an idea and they say they’re going to write a poem about an orange, say, and they describe it. Don’t say what it looks like, try and be that thing and see what happens. Start it, let the language take you and see where it goes.’
How to enter:
Poems must be between 2 and 8 lines and should be related to the world of food and/or where it comes from. They should be thoughtful and friendly, and perhaps funny. There is no age limit for entrants. Please include your name, address and age with entry. It is important that you include your name, address, age and a contact telephone number.
There are 2 ways to enter:
Post: Waitrose Year of Poetry competition, Publications, Marketing, Waite House, Doncastle Road, Bracknell, RG12 8YA
Winners will be notified by 18 June, 2014.
There will be 4 rounds, 1 a month, until September. The closing date for round 2 is 12 noon, Thursday 12 June, 2014.