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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > November 2017 > The poetry in science

The poetry in science

Alison Chisholm examines the winners in our competition for poems with a science theme

Poetry winners

Taking science as the theme for a poetry competition may seem too much of a leap in the dark, but the poets who entered the competition to honour Marie Curie 150 years after her birth leapt with confidence and courage. They accepted the challenge to explore the vast array of possibilities offered by such a wide-ranging theme.

There were poems on physics, chemistry and biology, but there were also entries rooted in information technology, mechanics, geology, mathematics, climatology, physiology, domestic science and more. Some entries had a textbook-style approach, sacrificing the excitement of poetry for the (laudable) restraints of perfect accuracy. Most looked further than the facts, and presented a new angle, introducing additional thoughts to flesh out factual information.

Not surprisingly, several entries focused on Marie Curie, but other personalities featured, and there were delightful excursions into humour, personification, celebration, characterisation and science fiction.

As so often happens in poetry competitions, the only disappointment was the number of entries that required more work at the revision stage. There were poems that hurled themselves from one point to another without any cohesion, poems that worked beautifully up to the last few lines and then trailed off leaving the reader thinking ‘so what?’ and poems with flaws in their sentence structuring, syllable count, metre or rhyme scheme. Many of the pieces, however, were fuelled by ideas vivid enough to make them serious contenders for acceptance in poetry magazines. It would be worth an extra check to ensure that they are not rejected for any of these points of weakness which can be corrected so easily.

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You've written your book - now it's time to sell it! Read our features on 7 easy ways to start marketing and how to boost your Amazon sales. We also look at what's really going on with those creative writing myths that seen to have become truisms. Check out what mythbusting story consultant Jeff Lyons has to say. Our star interview is with the hugely talented children's writer and illustrator Cressida Cowell, who has started a new series after the amazing success of How To Train Your Dragon. It was a real pleasure to talk to her about dragons, history, why children love magical creatures and, of course, writing! There's £37,700 to be won in writing prizes, pages packed with opportunities in Writers' News, and much, much more in this month's issue.
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