Wednesday 9 May 2012

The Sentinel Newsletter, May 2012 (#1)

Welcome to the Sentinel Newsletter May 2012 (#1)

The Sentinel Newsletter will henceforth be sent out twice a month on the second and last Wednesdays of every month. If there are any important notices that our subscribers need to have in between these scheduled days we will send them out as Special Notices.

In this first May 2012 newsletter we have the following items:


·         The SLQ Poetry and Short Story Competitions (April 2012) results for the benefit of those who have not seen them.

·         Adjudication reports of the SLQ Poetry & Short Story Competitions (April 2012) for the benefit of those who have not seen them.

·         Call for submissions: Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology 2012

·         Call for submissions: Sentinel Literary Quarterly (July to September 2012)

·         Current Sentinel & Excel for Charity writing Competitions.

·         Support Sentinel Poetry Movement



SLQ Poetry & Short Story Competitions (April 2012) Results

We are pleased to announce the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions for April 2012 judged by Miles Cain (poetry) and Kate Horsley (stories).




The 9 commended poems in no particular order are:


‘Justin’ – Christian Ward

‘Fleet’ – Simon Jackson

‘Mousetraps’ – Rosemary Kirk

‘Beneath the Bridge’ – Oz Hardwick

‘Queen’ – Terry Jones

‘Dictionaries’ – Terry Jones

‘Safe Journey’ – Eilidh Thomas

‘Hot Night’ – Diana Mason

‘Migrants’ – Mingjuan Tan


The 3 highly commended poems in no particular order are:


‘Feeling the Wood of Father’s Bequeated Desk’ – E.K. Wall

‘Lamplight’ – David Jones

‘Snapshot’ – Valley Girl


Third Prize


‘Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait aged 63’ – Lynn Roberts


Second Prize


‘The Secret of Small Strawberries’ – Claire Cox


First Prize


‘Vinyl Junkie’ – Oz Hardwick


Sentinel Champions Subscription Giveaway

The poet that receives 1 year’s free subscription to Sentinel Champions magazine is David Pollard




The 3 highly commended short stories are in no particular order:

‘Nature or Nurture’ – Charles Johnson

‘The Split Second’ – Fiona Barr

‘Guilt Sweets’ – Julia Lacey Brooke


Third Prize


‘Sand’ – Brindley Hallam Dennis


Second Prize


‘The Naked Fisherman’ – Leo Madigan


First Prize


‘Duopoly’ – Sarah Evans


Sentinel Champions Subscription Giveaway

The short story writer that receives 1 year’s free subscription to Sentinel Champions magazine is Christina Fulford


All the winning and commended poems and short stories above will be published in Sentinel Champions in November 2012.


Congratulations to all the winners.



Adjudication Report, SLQ Short Story Competition (April 2012) by Kate Horsley

The standard of entries for the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition April 2012 was high.  I was particularly impressed by the quality of the writing.  The stories were engaging and comical, dramatic and heart-rending by turns and evoked a variety of different cultural settings.  With such a good standard of writing, it was hard to choose winners!  Those I’ve chosen all made bold choices about their subject matter as well as the perspective from which the story was narrated.


 The First Prize Winner, ‘Duopoly’, is narrated in the second person – a daring choice followed through with conviction.  A story of bereavement, ‘Duopoly’ begins with brief, punchy sentences used to depict the monotonous existence of a character who appears to be emotionally frozen.  The author’s stylish prose propels the reader to an unexpected conclusion in which the reason for the main character’s trauma is revealed.  In contrast to the apparent cynicism and economy of the story’s style, the ending is startlingly poignant.


The Second Prize-winner, ‘The Naked Fisherman’, tells of a young photographer’s formative experience in Lima.  Simply and directly written, this story also builds emotional effects by means of contrast.  In this case, the matter-of-fact tone of the first-person narrator is juxtaposed with a shocking turn of events towards the end of the story.  Intentions are lost in translation and events spin out of control, but the day is ultimately saved by a special moment of understanding between photographer and fisherman.


The Third Prize goes to a beautifully written story about an elderly couple on holiday in their caravan.  ‘Sand’ is lush and melancholy in style and has a dreamlike feel as the couple ponder their current relationship and remember the past. The seaside landscape is delicately evoked as the faded love between husband and wife drifts over the dunes and shore like endless white sand.


The three Highly Commended stories, ‘Nature or Nurture’, ‘That Split Second’ and ‘Guilt Sweets’ are all very well-written stories that use bold characterization.  ‘Nature or Nurture’ evokes the lives of children growing up on a farm in the 1940s.  ‘Guilt Sweets’ explores the various excesses of a jaded marital relationship to darkly comic effect and ‘That Split Second’ tells the story of an isolated elderly couple provoked into extremity after an unexpected accident occurs.


The non-winning entries were often interesting and well-written, but tended to spell the meaning of the story out too much, especially at the beginning.  Some stories were richly wrought in terms of description – perhaps too much so – but unfortunately the very complexity of the description overwhelmed the narrative and made it difficult to read.  A few writers neglected to check spelling and grammar or made peculiar word choices that detracted from their story’s appeal.  In order to improve these (often very good!) entries to make them into winning stories, writers should make sure to double check their presentation before submission and should focus some energy on creating an arresting and unexpected first paragraph that doesn’t give too much away.


First Prize


Second Prize

‘The Naked Fisherman’

Third Prize


Highly Commended

‘Nature or Nurture’, ‘That Split Second’ and ‘Guilt Sweets’



Adjudication Report, SLQ Poetry Competition (April 2012) by Miles Cain


Why do we write poetry? There are lots of reasons: self-expression probably tops the list for most of us, followed by a desire to grow as people: writing is a form of exploration, of working out what is important to us. Poets are intent on the big themes: we dwell on birth, growth, love, and (very often), life’s shadow side – the themes of pain, loss, grief and the awareness of our own mortality feature in poetry frequently. Poetry is a form of consolation, but it can be witty, funny and sexy too. Every facet of human life is explored through poetry.


How we express these things, however, requires great care. The old adage ‘the devil is in the detail’ is especially true of writing. Writers who take care over every line and sentence are more likely to create strong work than those who don’t. In this competition, there were a number of entries that hadn’t looked closely enough at their own work. Some poems were poorly punctuated, with apostrophes used incorrectly, or contained spelling errors. Some sentences were long but had no commas. Correct use of commas and full stops is a basic requirement of decent writing.


Another common fault is cliché. Writers must learn to get rid of any elements of their work that may seem to be lazy. In the poems I read, there were several phrases which lacked originality, or came close to laziness. It sounds so obvious, but it’s important to think about the work. It’s when we stop thinking that we are more likely to include worn out expressions. Ezra Pound urged writers to ‘make it new’. This is not easy, but the rewards will be great lines that are fresh and enriching for the reader. In the entries I read, there were phrases such as ‘…you just ache to hold your loved one…’; ‘…sweep it under the carpet…’; ‘…the patience of a saint…’;  ‘…struck dumb…’; ‘…derring-do…’; ‘…a godforsaken place…’; ‘…a heavy price to pay…’; ‘…enemy ground…’; ‘…life hangs by a tiny thread…’; ‘…swaying in the breeze…’;  ‘…the stillness of the night…’  (etc). Such phrases come easily because we are so used to them, but good writing ignores worn out lines and replaces them with something fresh. I ruled out any poems with clichés in.


Another common fault, especially for less experienced writers, is to over-write a poem. Writers think they’re being smart by cramming in words of phrases that are redundant. Here’s a phrase from one of the poems in this competition: ‘…a sun blanched shaft of light gold edged warms us…’ Writing like this is confusing for the reader. Take out anything that clogs up the poem. Less is more. An example is William Carlos Williams’ great poem This is just to say – it’s simple and touching. In many of the poems I read, stricter self-editing would have helped. It’s like enjoying a good meal. A dish with four items on the plate is more enjoyable than a dish with twenty.


One way to improve, and to kill off the cliché, is to read widely. It’s important to investigate all the great writers of the last 50 years to get a feel for how poetry works. I can’t provide a universal list here, but names such as Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, Jean Sprackland, Clare Pollard and Matthew Sweeney spring to mind. If you’re a bit skint, pester your local library – they often have access to a range of poetry. Or get hold of an anthology of modern poetry. (I recommend Emergency Kit, edited by Matthew Sweeney and Jo Shapcott. It’s a fabulous collection).


There were recurring themes, including the passage of time, ageing, mortality and the changes of the seasons. Several poems focused on tragic accidents or untimely deaths. A number were inspired by paintings. Several writers expressed concerns about ecology and man-made pollution. While I was sympathetic to these concerns, I could hear the famous quote from John Keats ringing in my ears: ‘We hate poetry that has a palpable design on us…’ 


Many of the poems used the rhyming form, which is very hard to get right. Sophie Hannah and Wendy Cope are great poets who use rhyme, but I felt some of the poems I read fell into the trap of letting the rhyme lead the intention or meaning of the poem, something that often happens with rhyming poems.


A number of poems had ambition and intention but I felt they were one dimensional. I was looking for something with subtlety. Mystery and surprise are key elements of good poetry, and to overlook these is to halve the power of the form. Philip Larkin’s The Whitsun Weddings is a wonderful example – the end of the poem becomes something mysterious and elegiac.


I was asked to choose nine commended entries. These were as follows:


Commended Poems:


Hot Night – simple and effective, I wished more poems in the competition shared the elegant simplicity of this poem.


Safe Journey – this was one of the few rhyming poems that worked well. The funny punchline made me smile.


Dictionaries – this poem is already strong, but with some careful editing could be something very special. The image of burning dictionaries and burning language is a powerful one.


Justin – this is a poem that avoids cliché and uses language in a fresh and powerful way.


Fleet – one of several poems that dealt with tragic circumstances. The power of this poem lies in what is not expressed.

Mousetraps – another poem that is simple and elegant. The poem expresses the anxiety of its female character very well.


Beneath The Bridge – an intriguing poem, perhaps inspired by the three Billy Goats Gruff? I liked the air of menace present in this piece.


Queen – This monologue from the perspective of a mummified woman has a great line that shows the horror of her situation: ‘my hooked womb and brain flung in a bucket’. Wow!


Migrants – a good poem about migrating birds. A lack of sentimentality gives this poem added muscle.


Highly Commended Poems:


Feeling the wood of Father’s bequeathed desk.


A powerful poem focusing on the importance of intimacy, love and physical contact. (I agree with this writer. Talk to each other. Hug each other. Life is short.) However, it wasn’t only the sentiment that struck a chord with me. The details here work well: ‘my freckled hand’ and ‘the smell of your starched shirt’ lend an authority to the author’s writing.




This poem has some excellent images. I liked the way the gutter becomes ‘a argoyle, incontinent’ – a clever image that avoids cliché and gains the reader’s attention. This poem is full of atmosphere.




A strong poem about family and time passing. The image of Grandma’s hands ‘gritty like sandpaper’ is very effective.



First Prize Winner


Vinyl Junkie


I re-read this poem several times. Each time, its qualities appealed a little more. Its precision is terrific, and the way it uses the senses (the ‘thumbnail-slit cellophane’, ‘180 grams, black and pure’) is excellent.  Unlike many of the other poems, it never mentions ‘I’, ‘You’ etc, but confidently shares the experience of devotion to records.  This is well constructed writing and precisely expressed.



Second Prize Winner


The Secret Of Small Strawberries


This is a moving poem, focusing, as good poems often do, on a small moment with a subtle expression of emotion. Its poignancy comes from the fact that the writer has obviously experienced this moment (the same goes for the first prize winner) and, again, the details are great, especially the eyes of the woman ‘glazed cataract blue’. I loved the compassion and tenderness in this poem.


Third Prize Winner


Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait aged 63


This was one of the best of several strong poems in the competition. The sentence beginning ‘But he was doing…’ could do with some editing, as it is ten lines long, and should be split into smaller sentences. However, there’s no denying the power of the final lines, examining Rembrandt’s ‘bone-black suffering eyes and padlocked mouth’.




Following the successful publication of the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology in November 2011, We are now accepting submissions of previously unpublished poems, short stories and short plays for publication in the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology 2012.


Subject: Work submitted may be on any subject, and approached in any style, but the editors will be looking for materials that creatively engage some of the burning issues in the world today from health and economy, through terrorism, war, domestic violence to children’s welfare, ethnic and religious issues. Nothing is out of bounds.


Lengths: Send no more than 6 poems up to 65 lines long, short stories must not be more than 3000 words long, and short plays up to 6,000 words long including title page and dramatis personae.


Submission: Send your work as Word or RTF attachment (NO PDFs PLEASE), together with your current biographical information up to 100 words to


Closing date for submissions: 30th June, 2012


Proposed date of publication: 1st November, 2012


Payment: There is no financial payment for authors. Every author published will receive 1 contributor’s copy. Authors published who have their own websites are welcome to sell the book from their sites and remit only 75% of the cover price to us. We will fulfil all orders. We can provide websites for authors who don’t currently have their own websites. Conditions apply. Request information on websites.


Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9568101-3-7

Editors: Nnorom Azuonye (Plays), Unoma Azuah (Poems), Amanda Sington-Williams (Short Stories).


Call for Submissions, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, July – September, 2012.


Publishing Cycle & General Information

Sentinel Literary Quarterly is currently published online only on 31st January, 30th April, 31st July, and 31st October. The magazine appears in print and online. Due to space constraints, some items accepted for publication may only appear in the online version, while some may appear both online and in print. There will be some that will appear in print only. What appears where is at the discretion of the editors and publisher. Therefore bear these options in mind while submitting to SLQ.

General Submissions Guidelines

Deadlines: December 31st for January 31st publication, March 31st for April 30th publication, June 30th for July 31 publication, and September 30th for October 31st Publication.


Poems: Submit up to 6 poems on any subject of 60 lines or less, or a long poem up to 200 lines plus 2 shorter poems.

Fiction: Submit Short Stories, or Excerpts from Novels on any subject or theme up to 5,000 words long.

Essays: May be up to 10,000 words long.

Plays: Short plays or excerpts from longer plays no longer than 6,000 words.

Reviews and Interviews: These may be up to 3000 words long.


All materials submitted must be in English Language. We encourage poems written in other languages as long as they are sent together with appropriate translations.

The name of the author as he/she would like to be credited must appear on the materials.

Please send a photograph of yourself in Jpeg format to go on your page.


Copyright: Once we accept materials for Sentinel Literary Quarterly, we acquire the copyright until they have been published. 90 days after publication, the copyright reverts to the authors.


Simultaneous Submissions: We discourage simultaneous submissions. The turnaround time is 8 weeks. Hopefully that is not too long for you.


Previously Published Work:

Generally we discourage submissions of previously published work. If we feel strongly about a previously published work we may solicit it. If your work has been published elsewhere and you feel it has not been given the exposure it deserves, and you feel strongly about it, by all means submit it, but please mention where and when it was first published.


Payment: Sentinel Literary Quarterly does not currently pay authors any money for work accepted and published. Every author published in print will receive a complimentary contributor’s copy.


Important: Please submit only materials that are your original work. Please bear in mind that Sentinel Literary Quarterly is a magazine and not a blog or discussion forum. Therefore the form and content of any work published in the magazine is final and any aspect of the work, or its authorship, may not be modified after publication. We may alter the content of your work if requested only if the work has been published online. Requests for modification of content, authorship or deletion will not be entertained. Copyright reverts to all authors 90 days after publication.


Featured Country


Every issue of Sentinel Literary Quarterly from July 2012 will have a section called Featured Country in which we will present a supplement on that country. If you would like to submit your work specifically for the Featured Country Supplement, please indicate that in your submission. For instance if you are submitting to the issue that will have Italy as a featured country, in your submission subject, type: ‘Poetry Submission (Italy Supplement)’ To be included in the Supplement, your poem, essay, short story, or interview will have relevance to the featured country.


The Featured Country for July – September issue is ITALY.


Submissions by e-mail only

Send all Poems (Standard or Country Supplement) to Chris Stewart

Send all Short Stories, and excerpts from novels (Standard or Country Supplement) to Ngozi Chuma-Udeh

Send all book reviews, essays, plays, and interviews to (Standard or Country Supplement) Nnorom Azuonye

Current Sentinel Poetry Movement and Excel for Charity Writing Competitions



Judge: Derek Adams
Closing Date: 31st May 2012
Prizes: £150, £75, £40, £10 x 2 plus publication in Excel for Charity News Blog and The Psychiatry Research Trust Newsletter.

Entry Fees: £4/1, £7.50/2, £10.50/3, £12.50/4, £14/5 (Enter as many poems as you wish)

Enter online or by post here >>


Judge: Rosemary Dun
Closing Date: 20th June 2012
Prizes: £150, £75, £50, £10 x 3 plus publication in Sentinel Champions magazine.
Entry Fees: £4/1, £8/2, £10/3, £12/4 (Enter as many stories as you wish)

Enter Online or by Post here >>


Judge: Will Daunt
Closing Date: 20th June 2012
Prizes: £150, £75, £50, £10 x 3 plus publication in Sentinel Champions magazine.
Entry Fees: £3/1, £6/2, £9/3, £12/5 (Enter as many poems as you wish)

Enter Online or by Post here >>


Judge: Afam Akeh

Closing Date: 15th July 2012
Prizes: £150, £75, £40, £10 x 2 plus publication in Excel for Charity News Blog

Entry Fees: £4/1, £7.50/2, £10.50/3, £12.50/4, £14/5 (Enter as many poems as you wish)

Enter online or by post here >>


Judge: Roger Elkin

Closing Date: 30th November 2012
Prizes: £500, £250, £125, £25 x 5 plus publication in Sentinel Champions magazine.
Entry Fees: £5/per poem for the first 2 poems, £3.50 per poem thereafter (Enter as many poems as you wish)

Enter Online or by Post here >>


Judge: David Caddy

Closing Date: 30th November 2012
Prizes: £500, £250, £125, £25 x 5 plus publication in Sentinel Champions magazine.
Entry Fees: £5/per story for the first 2 stories, £3.50 per story thereafter (Enter as many stories as you wish)

Enter Online or by Post here >>




Support Sentinel Poetry Movement


Since December 2002, Sentinel Poetry Movement has been serving the literary community with our publications and events. We have provided and continue to provide publishing platforms for writers from all over the world.


Sentinel Poetry Movement is self-funding and has never applied for or received any grants from any organisation. We have continued to function by the little margins we make from the sale of our books and magazines, from the little left after writing competitions entry fees have been paid, and through small revenue streams from advertising served on our our websites by Google and other affiliate programmes.


You could support us in a variety of ways.

1.      Buy and or subscribe to Sentinel publications. Have you bought a copy of the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology ( , Sentinel Literary Quarterly ( or Sentinel Champions ( ?

2.      Enter our quarterly and annual poetry and short story competitions (

3.      Advertise your book, publishing business,  or any other business that would interest writers on our site and magazines. For advertising enquiries e-mail



Sentinel Poetry Movement

The International Community of Writers & Artists…since December 1, 2002

Part of the Sentinel Poets, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN).



Nnorom Azuonye

Skype: nnoromazuonye

Tel: +44 7812 755 751



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