Mark





WASTE


03.02.21 / ARCHIVES
JUDGES HANNAH DAVENPORT, LUCY HULTON







In a time of rampant overconsumption and unsustainable activity, waste poses a substantial threat to the environment, vulnerable communities and livelihoods. Women are amongst those who are both blamed and burdened by it. Artists were asked to explore creative responses to the word waste, through the medium of poetry.

The diverse interpretations, points of focus and creative responses were all incredible. The winning poetry pieces selected by the judges were able to fluidly intertwine their significant meaning, presence of words and both direct and indirect visual elements to create memorable and thought-provoking poetry on ‘waste’.
EDITORS NOTE






POETRY


1st place URCHIN BY SASKIA MCCRACKEN
2nd place IMMOLATION SONG BY SASHAWNE SMITH
3rd place MUNICIPAL REALITIES BY HELEN BOWIE

VISUAL POETRY


1st place AN EPITAPH BY LESLEY COOKE
2nd place A PATIENT METAMORPHOSIS BY TAYLOR MALLAY
3rd place PERFECT SOUL BY SADIE MASKERY





URCHIN 

BY SASKIA MCCRACKEN


The piece's use of scientific terms alongside everyday items really stood out from the rest. The words build up--as if never ending--reminiscent of pollution. A brilliant piece.
JUDGES COMMENTS 

'Urchin' is one of a 3-part poem 'Algae Variations', which can be read together or independently. My algae poems began with the first published photographs in Britain, botanist Anna Atkins's cyanotypes of algae. Responding to these haunting images, my poems explore themes of prehistory and contemporary rubbish as waste - as an island of waste that floats among islands of algae.
POETRY STATEMENT
The Sargasso Sea is named for its vast drifting masses of sargassum plumosum, full of air sacks;
sanctuary for baby loggerhead turtles, and the secrets of eels, hidden in floating islands, blooms of
plastic; new ecosystems emerge in the bright bottles, rope, cartons, boxes, microplastics, shoes,
bags, fishing nets, Lego, computer monitors, wrappers, bottle caps, wheels, tyres, fragments, balls,
lighters, toothbrushes, pens, baby bottles, razors, crisp packets, mobile phones, and rubber ducks
for miles. Whose paradise is this.
















Below these islands, purple urchins creep through kelp forests beneath no fish and graze until there is nothing left but deserts of sediment.





AN EPITAPH

BY LESLEY COOKE


A wonderful use of the graphic page, almost reminding the reader of the inside of a geography textbook. This displacement on the page forces the reader to acknowledge that these are real issues and are not simply limited to the reality of being written on the page. A beautifully presented poem.
JUDGES COMMENTS

An Epitaph. I'm passionate about the abuse of fresh water and its effects on the natural world.
POETRY STATEMENT






IMMOLATION SONG

BY SASHAWNE SMITH


The pieces use of repetition was thoughtful--this not only brings a chanting tone to the poem but also acts as a reminder for the reader on how truly repetitive 'waste' is.
JUDGES COMMENTS

Immolation song was written as a poetic acknowledgement of the damage done when black women swallow their rage and the damage done when they do not.
POETRY STATEMENT
I recall succumbing to the warning of flame
seeing the dripping candle wax and smoke
hearing the chords of an organ
and wafting contempt before me for the first time
instead of the despair pressed between my finger and thumb.

True rage is no single flame it is exodus lying in wait.
It is a woman, black disobedient and covered in ash, who gives in
lays waste to the green of the earth,
and for it, she is history’s stain.
All because she was too tired of the world and its habit of
asking for change then recoiling from that it takes.

I recall swallowing sorrow and chasing it with romance
wanting to douse myself in pity feel it lubricate the throat
but rage, should it still simmer, would drown that pity in a sap
so nectar sweet, that my countless desires would fall
palms over knees, in worship.

Miss Exodus would not do as I do
bury and flee, twisting those sugared letters into delicacies.
My heart is her heart, and it is starving,
from years of being withheld
it wants beasts’ things. Not to be held
or fastened, straining against itself.

I should not feel so dead,
hung on the mantlepiece of reality,
left only to dream my way out of those places
where I get caught on the rings of perception
and my spirit grows grey like the outlines of duppy.

I should not.
I should not.
I should not.
My thoughts glug like lighter fluid
I am pregnant and reborn by the triumph of a lit match
the letters dissolve and my mouth fills with her sap.





MUNICIPAL REALITIES

BY HELEN BOWIE


"a bird cage appears, with no bird in sight"--this part was especially moving, it has a satirical tone and a feel of social commentary arises from this piece [something we were hoping for]. JUDGES COMMENTS

Municipal realities was inspired by the strange items and architecture of my local area, and the stories I imagine to find beauty in the council-issued ugliness.
POETRY STATEMENT
Our verdure canopy overlooks
the municipal realities of life
centred around a communal
waste disposal area
no hiding and no shame
overnight, a birdcage
appears, with no bird in sight
a music hall with no pianist
unanswered questions
juxtaposed options
a shallow grave
a life ending in landfill
or an escape into plumes
on the horizon





A PATIENT METAMORPHOSIS

BY TAYLOR MALLAY


The fact that the reader's brain struggles to tell whether this piece was made solely on a computer, or whether it is part of a digitally altered piece is testament to the poet's artistic skill. Just as we often struggle to determine what is meant to exist in nature and what is not. JUDGES COMMENTS

"A Patient Metamorphosis": This piece came out of a cut-up session in which I gathered discarded magazines from my local library and tried to find a way to re-use them rather than let them be thrown out.
POETRY STATEMENT





PERFECT SOUL

BY SADIE MASKERY


This unusual and graphic piece is striking, and it certainly makes use of "waste" to create art. The doll is quite uncanny: it is as if it were representing the people who are left ignored in environmental policies--indeed, children are often not thought of even though may have to deal with the consequences for many more decades.
JUDGES COMMENTS

The doll was at the local reclamation yard. The photo of her has not been manipulated at all - that is how she looked; bruised, shattered, naked, with ravaged eyes. Yet still whole. The plastic she is made of will outlive us all. We heal but eventually die, she never heals and the dying is very slow even though she never lived except through a child's imagination. I took the picture and left her. Now I want to go back and rescue her. I expect she is still there, in the dirt, staring at the sky.
POETRY STATEMENT