Previous Competitions

Ver Poets Open Competition 2019 Results

First PrizeRag & Bones Poem by Jeri Onitskansky

Second Prize: Gouranga by David Van-Cauter

Third Prize: Hopperesque by Rachel Goodman

Runner Up:

  • witness by Lucy Crispin

Highly Commended:

  • Valediction by Sandra Galton
  • Designing the Chair by Jacqueline Gabbitas
  • Self-portrait by Steven Jackson
  • Puddles by Josh Ekroy
  • To His Fingertips by Stephen Boyce
  • Safe house by Estelle Price
  • The Obituarist by Justine Knowles
  • Next Best Thing by Robin Houghton


  • All photographs… by Anna Kisby
  • Sweet chestnut by Tista Austin
  • Two days after… by Roger Elkin
  • Spur Bridge Mortlake by Colin Pink
  • Fern by Juliet Troy
  • Quotidien by Sandra Galton
  • Om by Sandra Galton
  • Out of a Wall by Mandy Pannett
  • Spaces … by Mandy Pannett
  • Field shed 1964 by Jennifer Hunt
  • Winter Garden by Jennifer Hunt
  • Magpies by Emma Simon
  • Crude Metaphor by Tammy Swift-Adams
  • Desire Paths by Justine Knowles
  • Bank Holiday Diorama, 1875 by Bill Holloway
  • Tatterdemalion by Konstandinos Mahoney
  • Mudberries by Jeri Onitskansky
  • Winter Ways by Susan Skinner
  • In Winter by Dennis Tomlinson
  • Opening up the Cellar… by Catherine Swire  
  • Short Street in Autumn by Rodney Wood
  • The Devouring Sun by Rodney Wood

Our competition anthology, The Ver Prize 2019, includes all of the above poems and Kathryn Maris’s report. All those included will receive a copy. Further copies can be ordered by sending a cheque for £4 (plus £1 p&p), made payable to Ver Poets, to 181 Sandridge Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 4AH.

Ver Poets Members’ Ten-Liners Competition 2017 Results

First PrizeThe goblin under the stairs by Daphne Schiller

Joint Second Prize: Perspective by David Van-Cauter

Joint Second Prize: Pastorale by Kevin Maynard

Highly Commended:

  • A Waiting Room by Selwyn Veater
  • Poem by Terry Jones
  • Red Kytes over Home Farm by Anna Avebury
  • A Penny for the Guy by Bill Holloway


  • Feeling Blue by Sylvia Banham
  • If I wanted to by Chris Delaney
  • Ten Liners by Alan George
  • Odour of New Baby by David Mark Williams

Ver Poets Members’ Summer Competition 2017 Results

First Prize: 45 Deg C by Kaye Lee

Second Prize: Summer at Jackie’s by Daphne Schiller

Third Prize: If You Lose Your Way by Bill Holloway


  • It is August by Beliz McKenzie
  • Light of the shore by Patricia McCaw
  • Heat by Valerie Morton
  • August by Valerie Morton
  • Silences by Selwyn Veater
  • Sloshing About in Memories by Selwyn Veater
  • Assault by A C Clarke
  • Be Tempted by David Jones
  • Midsummer, Lake Macquarie by David Jones

Open Competition First Prize

Rag & Bones poem
Jeri Onitskansky


the fox
among hot love’s

downy chicks—
old nettle

long caught
in frocks

of exquisite

how it might feel
to lose you,

my brouhaha—
my overcooked stew?

If healing
unfurls its ubiquitous

tiger lilies and
good will

in chandeliers

of future years,
could I say I knew you

well enough—
the mood roughly

hewn, most
loutish of blues?

Back to top

Open Competition Second Prize

David Van-Cauter

…and I’m sat static behind the wheel under that bridge on the M1 that used to have a scrawl that said CT London but now says Gouranga Keep Hunting and I’m thinking why me and why now and I check my  watch and feel in my  pocket for the sample I produced 30 minutes ago and I’m trying to keep it warm and I need to get to Bushey within the hour so it can be taken away and worked on and I can get back in my car and  thunder back up the  motorway to  Hitchin where you will be waiting with another doctor who will do the rest and somewhere past this endless queue of cars I imagine you waiting and  thinking he’s late again and today of all days and there’s nothing I can do and I’m cursing this mad arrangement where procreation happens in three separate places and all I can think as I stroke the plastic tube is keep on swimming don’t give up keep moving while I sit here helpless as the rain begins to fall and I start to shake like a sperm  hitting the  egg repeatedly with its head and I weep on the dashboard and hit the horn and start a Mexican wave of blasts along the queue past the scrawled-on bridge and down the lengths of  grumbling cars vibrating  trying to rev out the anger as the clock ticks on relentlessly and I’m thinking  why me why now keep hunting keep hunting and the rain pisses down like  tiny  javelins and I try to breathe
but I can’t                                                                                                           I can’t…

Back to top

Open Competition Third Prize

Rachel Goodman

 The lonely thing has been overdone he said, there’s more to it
than that and don’t tell me that my pictures are voyeuristic.

We all have glass between us, and behold the silent scrabbling
in apartment cells like bees, with yellow resignation.

Blank blocks of wall stare in sunlight daring the unruly movement
of a fly, clouds have no scurry to them, there is not a teaspoon

on the kitchen counter nor the stipple of a crumb.
Nothing is going to happen. The afternoon’s a flat unyielding

surface I can get no purchase on, the barn door black and
unremitting without scratch of sound. This lack of detail is too hard,

I want the entrance that a scribble gives, a paper bag,
a crumpled scarf, a borrowed book that opens at page three.

But there are skies of cruel space in paint, burning up
the shadow pools, and I’m too tired to cross the yard.

Back to top