Caroline Bracken wins IYeats poetry competition, judged by Jane Clarke and Dave Lordan


2015 is the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth and the 7th anniversary of the iYeats competition. We certainly had a fortuitous year with a fantastic quantity and quality of entries. We are delighted to announce that the judges of the iYeats Poetry Competition 2015, Jane Clarke and Dave Lordan, have selected the winning poems in both the general and emerging categories along with several highly commended entries.

Judges Commentary 2015: Jane Clarke & Dave Lordan

We are glad to say that there was a bumper entry to the competition this year. Congratulations first of all to everyone who entered and made the substantial creative effort it requires to produce a poem. Such effort is never wasted. The diversity of styles, themes and poetic voices we encountered gives cause for great optimism about the future of poetry in Ireland. Many poems were of or close to publishable standard. Among those we chose to highly commend in the General Category, we found evidence of an extra effort, an extra insight, an extra range, an extra layer, an extra something that set our poetic antennae tingling, provoked our curiosity, encouraged re-reading and led both of us to praise the artistry on show and contemplate the shaded meanings. Well done to all those poets; it was a delight to encounter your work.

The poem which stood out for both of us in the Emerging Category, ‘Dead Ends’, is an intense, moving poem in which striking language and imagery is carried by the music of the lines through resonating sounds. The winning entry, ‘Ward Warning’ was one we both zoned in on as exhibiting a superior understanding of the relationship between form and meaning in the short poem, as well as being an original and evocative handling of the unfortunately all too-topical theme of mental illness. We heartily congratulate both winning poets and look forward to reading more of their work in the future.

Congratulations to one and all, we hope this will prove as an encouragement to continue on with your writing. …….

iYeats Winners & Highly Commended Poems 2015:

1st Prize – General Category
Caroline Bracken Ward Warning
Caroline Bracken’s poems have been published in Skylight 47, The Clare Champion, The Ogham Stone, The Scaldy Detail, Headspace, The Gathering Poem and The WOW Anthology. She was the winner of the Cara Poetry Competition (2013). Other poems have been shortlisted or commended in the Bridport Prize (2014), Listowel Writers Week (2015), Poets Meet Painters (2014), Swift Satire Festival (2014). Forthcoming work will be published in Dermot Healy: Writing the Sky – Critical Essays and Observations edited by Keith Hopper and Neil Murphy. One of her poems was chosen by competition to be exhibited at The Colour of Poetry Exhibition, Northern Health and Social Care Trust. She was recently selected by Words Ireland as a candidate for their mentoring scheme in association with Poetry Ireland. Her mentor, Grace Wells, is assisting her in the compilation of her poems into a debut collection which she hopes to publish. She was awarded a bursary to attend the 2015 John Hewitt Summer School in Armagh. She lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

1st Prize – Emerging Category
Ming Yan Lee Dead End
Ming Yan Lee is 18 years old and from Hong Kong. She is hoping to study a language-related field after her gap year. In her spare time, she participates in local poetry contests and contributes regularly to her school magazine.

Highly Commended (in alphabetical order by poem)

Dirt – Aminah Hughes
Dividing Hostas – Michael Farry
Fassaroe – Caroline Leddy
He meets his brothers – Michael Farry
Legacy – John Murray
Michaelmas Daisies – Majella Kelly
Over – Liz Gallagher
Peonies – Peggie Gallagher
Simon Barking – Michael O’Connor
While the Coroner Waits – Donna O’Shaughnessy
iYeats 2015 – In all there were 204 entries with 23 emerging poems amongst them. A big congratulations and thank you from all of us here at the Hawk’s Well. Without your poems we would have no iYeats poetry to look forward to every year. Below is a note from the judges on the overall standard of the competition entries and those they chose to commend.

The iYeats Poetry Competition is an annual, online, international poetry competition which has won a prestigious reputation for the calibre of both entrants and judges. The competition is open to all those 16 years of age and upwards. We award an overall prize across the board of entries and an emerging prize to a young poet aged between 16-25 years of age.

General category: First Prize €500
Emerging category: €300 (aged 16 – 25 years)