Poet Janet hits winning streak

Janet Lees, winner of the Olive Lamming poetry prize, and who has also won a UK award

Janet Lees, winner of the Olive Lamming poetry prize, and who has also won a UK award

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A PEEL poet has won first prize in a poetry competition, after also finishing runner-up in UK and international competitions.

Janet Lees won the £100 first prize in the poetry section of the 2012 Olive Lamming literature competition with her poem Winter, reproduced right.

The competition, which dates back to 1972, is run by the Isle of Man Literary Society and sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council.

The Olive Lamming is an annual literary competition which is held in memory of the late Dr Lamming, who was an active member of the Isle of Man Literary Society, and wife of the late Mr R L Lamming, a former consultant surgeon at Noble’s Hospital.

Winter is a villanelle, a 19-line poem, with five tercets followed by a quatrain.

Janet was also a runner-up with a video poem, created in collaboration with photographer and videographer Rooney, in a competition run by international art magazine Aesthetica which attracted more than 3,000 entries from around 40 countries.

The Aesthetica Art Prize offers artists around the world the chance to showcase their work and further their involvement in the international art world.

Previous finalists in the competition have included Julia Vogl, who was shortlisted for the Saatchi gallery and Channel 4 New Sensations prize, and Marcus Jansen, who has featured in Absolut vodka’s artistic campaigns.

The video poem, High Voltage Acts of Kindness, will feature in a book and exhibition in York in March/April.

In the National Cannon Poets ‘Sonnet or Not’ competition Janet again won a runners-up prize, this time with her poem God’s Ironing Board.

For the past 20 years Janet has been a freelance writer and is currently studying for a Master of Arts in creative writing, while also working on her first collection of poems.

Asked if she had any advice for aspiring poets in the island, she said: ‘The Isle of Man Poetry Society is a great place to start, it’s only £10 to join.

‘There is, of course, the Olive Lamming competition which usually runs in mid-November.

‘Another good idea is to go to the Isle of Man literature festival [Manx LitFest] and to look out for open mic nights and poetry nights in cafes and pubs. The Ship Inn in Castletown can be very good for these type of things. The local bookshops often advertise events too or have leaflets about them.’

Anyone interested in joining the Isle of Man Poetry Society can check their latest events on their website www.iom-poetry.org

You can view Janet’s video poem at https://dl.dropbox.com/u/93901899/Gas-H.264_50.mp4



It’s time to put the rose garden to bed.

To make a pile of all these fallen leaves.

You need to keep on top of things, you said,

if not they’ll get on top of you instead –

the time you came and rearranged my sheets

and made a red rose garden of my bed.

The time I pricked my finger and it bled,

you licked it clean, I lingered on your knee.

You need. To keep. On top. Of things – you said.

Our time spent planting, playing Scrabble, making bread,

singing out to winter’s early warning breeze:

It’s time to put the rose garden to bed!

There can’t be many things we left unsaid,

right up until the time you couldn’t speak;

we need to keep on top of things, we said

and so we did, and so we kept our love blood red –

I’d swear it fed this soil and grew these trees.

Now. It’s time I put the rose garden to bed.

You’ll need to keep on top of things, you said

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