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3rd prize - 2014

Photograph of Roger Elkin

Roger Elkin is the author of 11 poetry collections. He was shortlisted for the Bloodaxe New Blood Book-length Competition (1987); one of 10 shortlisted (out of 4,000 entries) for the Strokestown International Poetry Competition (2004); and one of 6 shortlisted for the Keele University Poetry Prize(2007). His poetry has won over 200 Prizes (45 Firsts) in International Open Poetry Competitions. He has received the Lake Aske Memorial Award (1982 & 1987), the Douglas Gibson Memorial Award (1986) the Sylvia Plath Award for Poems about Women (1986) and the Hugh MacDiarmid Trophy (2003). He was the first recipient of the Howard Sergeant Memorial Award for Services to Poetry in 1987; and was The Writer’s Rostrum 'Poet of the Year, 1991'.

Our Beach—hut by Roger Elkin

Knowing us
how we’ll wrangle where best to place it.
Which country, that is,
never mind the special location.

Besides, you hate beaches, remember:
the insolence of sand,
the intrusions of wide-open skies.
So we’ll probably erect it here,
in the garden.

We’ll want it for ourselves.
That is, just for you, and/or for me
when the other one of us is not around.
After all, when you’re beginning to get
on your own nerves,
two can be a crowd.

We’ll fill it with absences.
Of each other. Naturally.

That’s how you know
what your real needs are
when you’re missing each other.

Then the hut will scream emptiness.
The paintwork blister and run.
Even the walls hurt.

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