Who wins? 

This week I’m going to talk about outstanding poems in 2016. You may think that poets are scare in today’s society. Hence, my work here will be hard to accomplish, and this blogpost brief. However, dear reader, if you are thinking this you are wrong. 

Poetry, as everything else in the world, is evolving. I have mention previously the emergence of Spoken Word and some significant figures of this type of poetry, such as Sarah Kay. Also, I recently wrote an entry on how poetry is present in social media, which have contributed to massive sharing of content. So perhaps poetry isn’t as it used to be in the 18th century, and the publication of poems has surely changed as well. But truth is that today  we have infinite material to work with per month, let alone per year. When I looked on Google “poems 2016”, 8 500 000 results appeared. So with so many poems written and publish in the passed ten months, how can anyone decide which is the best poem in 2016?

The answer is: you can’t. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s the truth. Poetry is relative, and you may like one type of poetry more than another one; but that doesn’t mean that it’s actually  better. And of course there are competitions, which have winners (obviously). That’s the case of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, event that takes place in de US once every two years. Last festival was in 2015, and the champions were a group called Philly Youth Poetry Movement. But this competition was only for Slam Poetry. What about the other types of poetry? 

There are other competitions such as the Oxford Brookes University International Poetry Competition. Yet, they face the same problems. They simply cannot include all poetry in one event. Poetry has come a long way; it has developed and changed. It can’t possibly be judge as a whole anymore. 

Nevertheless, as I don’t want to leave you empty handed, here are the two poems that won in the competitions I mentioned before. This one is called “Today Cromer is Moscow” by Christopher James, and it won the 2016 edition of Oxford Brookes University International Poetry Competition:

Seagulls preside on the spires

and onion domes of Cadogen Road.

There are snowdrifts in the belfry

of the parish church. In the Hotel de Paris;

they’re serving Rassolnik soup

and vodka so cold it makes your glass

smoke with ice. In an upper window,

the ghost of Galina Ulanova looks out

across the waves balanced on a single toe.

At the end of the pier the oligarchs

are watching The Tremeloes sing Kalinka

while on the seafront, crab fisherman

dance the troika in their wellingtons.

Ice-cream men wear bearskin hats

and play Stravinsky to summon

the children from their homes,

because today Cromer is Moscow.

In the lighthouse they’re reading

Pushkin and playing chess to pass the time.

Down on the beach old cosmonauts

skim stones into the sea while

beneath their feet, the faces

of the tsars are imprinted in the sand. 

———
And I will leave a video of the slam poem “Glory” which was presented by Philly Youth Poetry Movment, winners of the Brave New Vocies Festival in 2015. Hope you enjoy. 

Ana Salas 

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