Wigtown Poetry Prize 2022 Winning Entries

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Wigtown Poetry Prize

18 April 2023
Wigtown from a distance, the Galloway hills in the background.

Wigtown Poetry Prize 2022

Winning Entries

The Wigtown Prize

Calving, by Julie Laing

Julie laing calving 2 page 001 1
Julie laing calving 2 page 002 1

The Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize

Dithis Bhoireannach air Trèan, by Martin MacIntyre

Dithis Bhoireannach air Trèan

’S ann ga h-ithe far a’ chnàimh a tha sibh –

am boireannach òg blasta a tha

na seasamh mur coinneamh,

is a bheir dhuibh a h-aodann

a gàire is a dlùth-èisteachd

is a labhras ribhse

a cheart cho saidhbhir, siùbhlach, sùghmhòr

mu bhrìgh na beatha (dè eile a th’ ann?)

is a thogas a com

is a chuireas a lamhan

an tacs’ a cruaichnean

dìreach mar a nì sibhse

is a dhraghas an fheadhainn agaibhse thuice

na gnogadh-cinn

na sgaoileadh bhilean

na tuigse air ur cor

a dh’ aindeoin nam bliadhnaichean eadaraibh

’s nach b’ aithne dhuibh idir a chèile gu seo,

’s gun dealaich sibh, math dh’ fhaodte gu bràth

an Girona no ’m Barcelona.

’S beag an t-iongnadh gum feum sibh

na gheibh sibh dhith ithe an-dràsta:

ise ‘menù’ 1 ur latha, ma-tà

cha sàsaichear a-nist sibh

gum bi mìlsead na ‘postre’ 2 – canaidh sinn Flan Catalán –

agaibh air bàrr truimead is fallaineachd is spiosrachd a ‘plato’ 3 :

a cridhe mar rionnaig òig le a saoghal roimhpe

mar a th’ aig an nighinn agaibh fhèin,

is o nam b’ urrainn dhuibh dìreach tachairt rithese

gun fhiosta air trèan

is a h-ithe le gaol

mar a leigeas an tè shaor chàilear seo leibh gun strì.


Two Women on a Train

You really are eating her off the bone –

the young tasty woman

standing opposite

who gives you her face

her laugh, her attentive listening

and who talks to you

just as richly, fluidly, juicy-ly

about the meaning of life (what else is there?)

and who raises her breasts

and places her hands on her hips

just like you do,

draws yours to her

in her nodding

her widening lips

her understanding of your being

despite the years between you

and that you’d never met before now

and you’ll part, forever, perhaps

in Girona or Barcelona.

Little wonder you must eat

what you can of her now

she is the ‘menù’ of your day,

you will not now be satisfied until you’ve savoured

the sweetness of the ‘postre’– lets say Flan Catalán

on top of the richness and healthiness and spicy-ness of her ‘plato'

her heart as a young woman with her life ahead of her;

just as your own daughter does,

and oh, if only you could meet her, by chance on a train,

eat her with love, as this delicious woman freely allows you to do.

The Wigtown Scots Language Prize

The Lintie, by Irene Howat

The lintie

The chaptane’s cahute wis mahogany wuid

thit leamed in the eelie’s licht

bit the licht o’s bourie, the chaptane kent,

wis is wee green lintie.

They wur buckelt wi’ae hesp, man an burd

for the mair the swaws sweelt

the mair the burd fuffert is feathers an sang.

Wi a rowin sea an a whurplin burd

the chaptane wis codgie.

Yin nicht is the veshel wis nearhaun a stack

a scowe lik neffer afore

skelpit er starn, nar cowpit er ower,

burlin er roon an thrawin er doon.

Oor efter oor the tarry breeks focht

wi the stack an the boat in a radgy birl.

Fur oor efter oor the wun did its warst

wi the wun an the sea in a skirl.

The chaptane hid hiself wupped tae the mast

e wid neffer gie ower is chairge.

Frae thair he spied muckle sclitherin heichs

an the lang sclim up thair sclenters,

than the veshel’s shidderin seekenin fa

doon intae the howes atween.

Frae thair he hearkened the skraich o the wun

an the screeve o smatterin timmers;

frae thair e spied the stack abin

an the wrack o is boat ablo.

Is hinnermaist sicht

oan thit frichtsome nicht

wis a glent o green,

an is hinnermaist soon

is the sea sooked im doon

wis a lintie.

The Dumfries and Galloway Fresh Voice Award

The Curse, by Andrew Murray

The Curse

That simmer’s day the king’s dragoons hung three men

fae the gibbets fur no renouncin their hatred o bishops,

an twae Mairgarets wur mairtyred tae the ocean – fixit ticht tae stakes tae droon as the

tide rose abune the bay o Wigtown.

They were aw merkit oot as malaperts, troublemakers whae listent tae meenisters preach

frae beneath their blankets in amang the hills o Gallowa’,

Loth even in the face o daith itsel tae stoap bein the foot sodgers o god: freedom fechters

railin against Episcopalianism

Mairgaret Maclauchlan an Mairgaret Wilson wir laid oot on the mudflats at Bladnoch,

clingin oan tae their crates like crabs.

Yin o them sang hymns but the sat watter dried them in her mooth. An offecial pullt her

heid up, giein hur a last chance tae recant her creed but she speired insteed

fur a gless o watter.

There’s plenty o watter there fur ye, said he, an pushed her back unner.

It’s said he’d a son, whae was born wi webbed feet.

Luckin fittit his hale life, he wuz, an aye thirsty forby.

Enter Wigtown Poetry Prize 2023

Wigtown Poetry Prize welcomes entries from poets writing in English wherever they may live. Separate categories celebrate the best of Scottish Gaelic and Scots language poetry, a special category acknowledges a rising talent in Dumfries & Galloway, and a pamphlet prize is named in memory of Alastair Reid - local poet and one of Scotland's foremost literary figures.

Visit the Wigtown Poetry Prize website for full prize details, previous winners and more.

Graphic Logo for Wigtown Poetry Prize 2023 set against a rural background of fields, sheep and the Galloway Hills.