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The Trip Fiction ‘Voyages by Verse’ Poetry Competition 2021 – the winners!

25th July 2021

The judges, Ana SampsonAllie Esiri, and Tolu Agbelusi have reached their verdict on the winners of this year’s Voyages by Verse Poetry Writing Competition. They were impressed with the depth and breadth of the shortlist they were presented with – and the locations it took them to. The scoring was very close, but the three prizewinners are as follows:

Rebecca Stonehill for her poem Tripoli Dreaming.

Judges’ comments

“I loved this evocative, atmospheric and beautiful poem. The language gives a strong sense of place rooted in sensations: touch, taste, smell. The final verse packs a tremendous emotional punch, casting a tender elegiac sadness over the gorgeous preceding verses.’

‘What longing in this, the saddest of Birthday poems.’ 

‘Speaker takes us into the memory instead of just telling us about it; even where there is a slight continuity issue with the storyline, it isn’t enough to throw me out. Then there’s the surprise at the end with the speaker being 84 and looking back, which has the effect of sending you back to the top of the poem again to read, as most good poems should do.’ 

Second Prize

Karen Quevillon for her poem In Search of Baghdad.

Judges’ comments

‘Great evocation of place in this poem set on a ‘once elegant’ street in Baghdad’.

‘The structure is really well thought out: It’s as if we walk with the poet along the street, past historic landmark buildings, as they tell us the heartrending stories of the citizens’ more recent history. I found the writing extremely powerful and evocative, particularly the shattering closing verse.’

‘The fragmentation of the form reflects the fragmentation that now defines the locale. The speaker takes you to the desolation so in terms of location we see it…and they do tap into the emotion.’

Third Prize

Tom Benjamin for his poem On Cefalù Beach.

Judges’ comments

‘I adored the image of Caravaggio used here and the gorgeous language. The final lines are brilliantly executed. effectively painting in a few lines the portrait of a melting-pot place on the sea routes from so many civilisations’.

‘Fun to be transported to a Sicily beach across the millennia’. 

To read the winning entries (and bios of the authors) just click on the poem names in the paragraphs above.

The other seven entries in the shortlist of ten poems were (in strict alphabetical order!):

  • Anniversary Dinner by Catherine Bell
  • Capital A by Lisa Perkins
  • Four Seasons in One Day by Jessica Sinclair
  • Gertie’s Dublin by Frances Fahy
  • Another Morning in Hanoi by Helen Deal
  • Lake District by Sarah Waites
  • My Black Country Towns by Tina Cole

If you would like to receive a copy of any of these seven, then please write to us at [email protected] 

A big thank you again to all who entered!

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  1. User: Frances Fahy

    Posted on: 07/03/2023 at 8:42 am

    Dear Trip Fiction Team,
    I’d appreciate it if you could send me a copy of my poem Gertie’s Dublin, shortlisted in the 2021 Trip Fiction Poetry Competition. Unfortunately, I had my PC stolen and didn’t have a back up copy of Gertie.
    Many thanks,
    Frances Fahy
    Lamezia Terme


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