Manchester Cathedral 600

Poetry Competition 2021

Sharpen your pencil, polish your pen, hit the keyboard, the Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition is here!  This year celebrates six centuries since the founding of the Collegiate Church which grew into our cathedral. We are celebrating the Cathedral - this extraordinary home of spiritual life and diversity, the beating heart of a vibrant city.

We are looking this year for poems which reflect, express or connect with the Cathedral in some way.  Poems will be short – no more than 15 lines – so that we can make them really visible in the city and beyond.  Poems you submit should be broadly religious or ‘spiritual’ in nature and, like all good religious poetry, appeal to those who might not describe themselves as ‘religious’. We would like to see poetry from different faith traditions, as well as from those struggling to discover a sense of the sacred. Write in any style or form – your poems will be judged solely on their merits as poetry.

And this year, rather than one winner and a lot of hopefuls, we will be simply offering TEN prizes of £100, and publishing the winning poems in a Celebration booklet.

The competition is now closed. Winners were announced by email and via the Cathedral's social media accounts on 30 November 2021.  Details of the announcement can also be found here.

The Judges

This year's poems will be judged by a panel:

Robbie Burton

Robbie Burton began writing poetry in her 50s, gaining an MA at Liverpool Hope in 2003 and publishing the odd poem here and there the following year.

Someone Else's Street, published by HappenStance, is her first collection. Since 2009, she has run Cross Border Poets, a very successful Poetry Society stanza.

Her poems have appeared in a wide variety of magazines. Her work has appeared in the Quaker anthology A Speaking Silence (ed. R Bailey and S Krayer), The Book of Love and Loss (ed. R Bailey & J Hall) and other anthologies. Her poem Eternal Plane was commended in the 2010 Poetry Society Stanza Competition. Nun With Keys was highly commended in the 2019 Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition, and her poem, Deeds, won 3rd prize in the 2018 Ledbury Poetry Competition.

Andrew Rudd is Poet in Residence at Manchester Cathedral.

Lately he’s been listening to blackbirds a lot, and wondering whether a poem could ever make music like that…

David Holgate thinks of reading, memorising and writing poetry as a normal part of everyday life.  A one-time editor of anthologies of poetry for schools, he is a fan of contemporary anthologies. As a New Testament scholar, he has a particular interest in the poetry and stories of Jesus. One of his jobs at Manchester Cathedral is to slip poetry into public spaces and prayers whenever possible.

Patricia Holgate read English at the University of Cape Town, but has been an inveterate reader of poetry and fiction since childhood.  She is interested in British and American poetry and has a large personal library of contemporary work, especially by women.  Before moving to Manchester, she was a long-standing member of a creative writing group in Salisbury and she continues to write poetry for pleasure.