Elena Croitoru Wins The South Bank Poetry Competition

 In Poetry

Photo Credit: James Reed


Congratulations to poet Elena Croitoru, who has won South Bank Poetry’s 2021 Poetry Competition. They were followed by poet Annmarie McQueen who won second place and poets Sofia Masondo and Candi Martin who came in third and fourth respectively.


South Bank Poetry judge Clare Pollard has awarded first prize to Croitoru

for their poem ‘Bucharest, 1989’. Clare spoke of the winning poem’s “immense skill and empathy”.


Second prize was awarded to Annmarie McQueen for their poem ‘The Storm That Wrecked Our Home’.


Clare chose the winning poems from hundreds of entries that were sent in.


Clare Pollard said of Croitoru’s poem:


The winning poem ‘Bucharest, 1989’ conjures a place and a historical moment with immense skill and empathy, as well as containing a gripping narrative – it is almost like a novel in miniature. After beginning with the vivid image of men sleeping on the streets, embracing each-other ‘because they were never loved’, the poem grabs us and pulls us urgently through the raining glass. The images stick in my head: the ‘singed cotton wool sky’, the doll’s ‘impossibly clear eye / rolling in somebody’s blood.’ It is a poem about what it means to witness something; to remember; to be conscious. I loved its humanity.



Judge Clare said of McQueen’s poem:


‘The storm that wrecked our home’ uses long lines to skillfully accumulate a sense of generational trauma and building tension. It is brilliant on how history sits in the body, full of visceral images – the storms that ‘thrash themselves // to pieces’, the house ‘creaking like stiff joints in winter’, the machine of inheritance ‘sputtering into motion’. And I really admired the confidence of the voice as it declares: ‘there’s a violence to everything, but family most of all’.



The winning poet Croitoru will win £300.


Read the winning poems in issue 35 of South Bank Poetry. Subscribe here now to be among the first to receive your copy.


1ST Prize          ‘Bucharest, 1989’ By Elena Croitoru

2nd Prize           ‘The Storm That Wrecked Our Home’ By Annmarie McQueen

3rd Prize           ‘Offals’ By Sofia Masondo

4th Prize           ‘Care’ By Candi Martin


Specially Commended Poets


‘A Bit Too Much’ By Patrick Williamson

‘Your Arms’ By Fran O’Leary

‘It Is The Gnawing At Our Bones’ By Zheng Xin


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