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Dominic Leonard
Runner-up, Meg Eden
Dominic Leonard is an undergraduate studying English at Christ Church, Oxford. His poems have appeared in IRIS, the Oxford Review of Books, The Kindling and the Poetry Business Book of New Poets (forthcoming), and in 2017 he won the Poetry Live competition. He is the President of Oxford University Poetry Society for 2017-18. 
a new poet with a future
Judge's Citation (by Oliver Jones)
This fortnight's raft of submissions contained many poems remarkable in their willingness to push their poet's expressive range to the very edge of non-sequitur.  None did so with such superb panache as Dominic Leonard's winning submission, which stretched personification to its logical limit  - as did our runner up, Meg Eden in the highly effective 'Alzheimers, In Which My Grandmother Is A Blueberry Bush'. 
Dominic's gift for accelerating his abstractions up to an impressive tempo is typical of a cluster of emerging British poets - Daisy Lafarge springs to mind, as does Andrew Fentham. His dislocated narration, simultaneously anatomical and cosmic,  gives his poems a freedom and freshness that rewards multiple readings.
Choosing among such strong pieces was no easy feat, but ultimately it was the pleasing prosody of 'No God Is Like A Vapour' - Dominic's paean to the deep sea jellyfish - that set it apart. The words in this poem seem to drift apart on the page, scattered and disarticulated; a mood that's belied by the piece as a whole, which shows exemplary concision and focus. Like a Bartok variation, it turns sharply around its key image without ever allowing the reader to face it full-on, and reaches far beyond its subject matter towards something equally diffuse and ungraspable. A young poet to watch out for, certainly.

No god is like a vapour *
Stygiomedusa Gigantea

no  god  is  like  a  vapour           gods are   as oil   & sponge   as this      here  are  my   droplets  :   here  are   my tendrils   &  their           galactic
melting           here    :  i am   a dish   of  brine  &  pink  water          watch :   i will  show  my face  to  death       except   do  not watch          i can  only 
  perform           down here          here    under  a  thousand   atmospheres in   dreams   i was  not   licked into this   salt existence        down in      these 
 murky  whirlpools       not  licked  into  this almost-life           in   dreams  i am shocking  everything   with   my  hot twitching knowledge          but i   fear
corners &   small  rooms  & i      can do  nothing  but   atrophy this   almost-flesh  through  the           water        in  dreams i   am  not  naked   &  afraid        in
dreams i   have  been  given    hands  so  that  i  might   hold  myself
copyright the author 2017
* due to blogger limitations this poem may not display its full typographical design on all viewings
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