WINNING CATERPILLAR POETRY PRIZE 2023 ‘THE STUFF OF
‘For the legendary Michael Rosen to have read my
poem is thrilling. For him to have chosen it is the stuff of dreams. The
Caterpillar has been hugely important to me. It’s the place I first
sent my work to, and seeing it appear within its gorgeous pages gave me the
confidence to keep writing. I know I’m not the only person to feel like that.
It’s bittersweet that this is its first “non-print” year but Rebecca and Will’s
legacy lives on in this wonderful poetry prize.' Ciara O'Connor
Ciara’s poem ‘Hints of an Adventurer’ was chosen as the 1st prize-winner from over a thousand
‘This is a portrait with the lilt of a ballad. Bit by bit, we come to see the “adventurer” expressed with
sympathy but also with an element of mystery. The persona watching the
“adventurer” is intrigued, sympathetic, wondering, and that leads us to do the
same, but just as we think it’s going to be resolved, the adventurer slips away
... I wanted to know more!’ Michael Rosen
Ciara lives on the east coast of Ireland with her husband and two teenage sons, and is a
lecturer in Dundalk Institute of Technology. She first got into writing ten
years ago, when Ferdia McAnna ran a series of creative writing workshops in
DkIT, and for the past number of years she has been attending workshops in the
Big Smoke Writing Factory, under the guidance of Claire Hennessy. She is
currently working on an upper middle-grade manuscript.
2nd Prize Butterfly Necklace by Joshua Seigal
London-based Joshua Seigal has several collections of poetry published by Bloomsbury, and was shortlisted for the Laugh Out Loud Book Award in 2017, an award he subsequently won in 2020. Joshua was also the recipient of the 2022 People's Book Prize. He has performed all over the world, including at the Dubai Literature Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival. Joshua has written and performed for BBC Television and is an Official Ambassador for National Poetry Day UK.
‘This is a softly beautiful evocation of a treasured possession, which is given an extra twist with the metaphor of the butterfly flying off. It’s restrained and calm in tone, and all the more powerful for that. This is a fine example of what a poem can generate in a small space through looking closely at a single object and the feelings surrounding it. It made me want to think about similar objects in my life.’ Michael Rosen
3rd Prize My Voice by Elizabeth Brown
poetry, essays and short fiction have appeared in The Christian Science
Monitor, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Image
Journal and The Daily Beast, among other places. She
has taught at the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Business and lives on the outskirts of Tucson, in the Sonoran Desert. She shares her home with her pet parrot,
Glory Bird, and the many wild animals that live underneath her long wooden
porch, including skunks, squirrels, pack rats, desert tortoises, rattlesnakes
and Gila monsters.
‘The power in this
poem comes from the surprise of the core metaphor ‒ that a voice is seen as
something that can be hidden or taken out. This is a strong
reminder of how our mind can position itself as if it’s looking at something
that is in us or part of us. There’s something very poignant about this “voice”
character who may or may not thrive in front of everyone else and we’re left
wondering, will it? Won’t it?’ Michael Rosen
ABOUT THE PRIZE
The Caterpillar Poetry Prize is an annual prize for an unpublished poem
written by an adult for children aged 7–11.
Every year since 2015, The Caterpillar Poetry Prize has been awarded to
a single poem by a single judge – among them John Hegley, Chrissie Gittins,
Roger McGough and Michael Morpurgo. In 2023, we introduced 2nd and 3rd
Previous winners include Louise Greig, Coral Rumble, Laura Mucha and
2nd prize €500
3rd prize €250
2024 competition will open later in the year.