The theme of 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize is Songbird. This marks two landmark bicentenaries in Romantic poetry. The composition 200 years ago of PB Shelley’s To a Skylark and the publication in
The theme of 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize is Songbird.
This marks two landmark bicentenaries in Romantic poetry. The composition 200 years ago of PB Shelley’s To a Skylark and the publication in book form of John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale.
While these songbirds have achieved immortality through art, today’s reality is that the skylark and nightingale both face serious threat of extinction, lending grim ironies to Romanticised lines like ‘Thou wast not born for death immortal bird’ or ‘And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.’
Our hope for this year’s prize is that we can celebrate the glory of these songbirds, while participating in the wider political and artistic efforts to bring attention to ever-escalating climate crisis.
Poets are asked to write on the theme of ‘Songbird’.
This can be interpreted freely – poets can write about birds, song, birdsong, songbirds, or any combination thereof. The poems themselves can be comic or serious, avant garde or traditional, but the Prize Judges advise that works flying too far from the theme will not be considered.
Entries must be original. Plagiarism will not be accepted. The poem must not have been published previously, either in print or online or in any other media, nor previously submitted to us.