During the First and Second World Wars poetry was a war of expressing and explaining the devastating events which unfurled. Now, with the recent staging of Pat Barker’s anti-war novel Regeneration coming to the Grand Theatre, Blackpool from 25 to 29 November, we are launching an exciting new War Poetry for Today competition.
Are you an avid writer? Do you have it in you to convey war in the 21st century?
The Touring Consortium – the company taking Regeneration on its world premiere tour – are holding a nationwide competition to find the most powerful war poems for today.
The call is out for you to write a poem about war and become a war poet of today. We want your answer to the use of war in poetry:
- If you have experienced war – can you share your experiences with us in words…in poetry?
- If you have only looked at images of war – can you share your feelings about seeing those images – your thoughts and feelings about war?
The competition closes on 28 November 2014, when three winning poems will be announced and read at the penultimate performance of Regeneration at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool. Not only are there three cash prizes up for grabs; a selection of submitted poems are even posted regularly on TheatreCloud.com, the Touring Consortium’s website, giving entrants an extra opportunity to be seen and read online.
Today, we’re inundated with images of conflict, disseminated instantaneously by the media and online. In the First World War, there were only 16 official photographers amongst the Allied troops, images and all correspondence were highly restricted and censored and took months to appear in the public domain.
Pat Barker’s Regeneration tells the story of war poet Siegfried Sassoon who was institutionalised for his condemnation of the First World War. Siegfried Sassoon and fellow war poet Wilfred Owen dramatically changed propaganda-fuelled public perceptions of the First World War with their poetry portraying the real horrors of mustard gas and trench warfare.
Both Sassoon and Owen served in the war – they met while being treated for “shell shock” (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder) in Craiglockhart Hospital in Scotland, where much of the play is set – and Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918, just one week before the Armistice was signed.
At each tour stop of Regeneration, Theatre Cloud and the Regeneration cast will short-list their favourite poems from recent submissions, and actors from the play – including Tim Delap and Garmon Rhys, who star as Sassoon and Owen – will perform filmed readings at the theatres. These videos are available to watch every week on TheatreCloud.com.
In the final week of the tour, the shortlisted poems will be reviewed by an expert panel. The author of the most powerful poem selected by the judges will receive a grand prize of £500. Judges will also choose a runner-up, who will win £250. A third prize of £250 will be awarded to the poem that’s most popular with audiences online.
Check out the short list so far or scroll down to read all submissions to date…
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