Poetry London Prize-winners: Q&A with Roger Bloor (1st prize, 2019)

1. What did it feel like to win the Poetry London Prize?

Writing poetry can often be a rather isolating activity; releasing a poem out  into the world is often met with a resounding and rather dispiriting silence. To hear the news that my poem had been selected for a prize was at first unbelievable and rather surreal. Once the reality had sunk in that it had won, not just any prize, but the Poetry London Prize, then it was really difficult to contain my excitement until it was formally announced. As you can imagine the announcement was the cause of a rather extended celebration.

2. Has winning the prize opened up new opportunities for you as a poet?

Winning the prize has had a number of effects. I am more confident about writing and sharing more experimental poetry and I have developed a much expanded range of contacts with other poets which is helping me to continue to develop my writing. I also seem to have attracted a few more Twitter followers than before and have been invited to run workshops for local writers.

3. Do you have any tips for poets wondering whether to enter?

The best tip I have is ‘just do it’; you have created something personal and unique in your writing – have confidence in the poem. Try and workshop it with colleagues you can trust to be honest with you, but in the end it is your poem, your voice, and even if it has been rejected elsewhere, this may be its time in the sun.