Francesca McMahon Wins MAG Poetry Prize 2011

24.07.2011 Francesca McMahon Wins MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Francesca McMahon wins MAG Poetry Prize for third year.

The winner of the MAG Poetry Prize 2011 is Francesca McMahon with her poem Ruby and Me at Baby Clinic.

That Francesca’s poem should once again be selected by the community is extraordinary (Francesca also won the prize in 2010 and 2009).

People may be surprised that the same poet could win three times. So are we.

Next year, however, there will be a different winner - Francesca has announced her ‘retirement’ from the MAG Poetry Prize!

The reaction to the competition was extremely positive: “I do think that the competition is fantastic in its approach,” “I think the peer assessment is brilliant and really marks the competition out from others,” “I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the excellent poems sent in by other people - many of which took my breath away.”

But there were reservations: “I was very surprised that some really good poems didn't make it through to the final 12.” Where participants referred to specific poems, generally these poems had come close to the shortlist.

It is in the nature of the process that most people will have read a poem (or more than one poem) that they think should have been on the shortlist but wasn’t. Opinion will always be divided.

On the positive side, it may be that we can learn the most from poems that other people rate highly but which we would otherwise have passed over more quickly.

This year, even more than last year, there were simply too many excellent poems for a shortlist of 12 to accommodate.

Going forward, finding ways to give recognition to a wider group of poems is surely a priority.

More than 1,500 comments were left during the judging process this year – a significant increase on last year.   

There were 1,015 poems this year (up from 591 poems last year). The reach of the prize broadened with entries being received from 36 countries. £1,015 was raised for MAG – one pound per entry.

The focus going forward will be on improving processes to generate constructive feedback on each other’s writing, whilst at the same time identifying and recognising excellence in writing.

This year’s participants offered some great thoughts and ideas on the process and these will guide further development of the event.

We continue in the spirit of learning, confident there is much left to learn.

Thank you to everyone who took part in or supported the MAG Poetry Prize 2011.

Read all about the winning and shortlisted poets.