The Limerick Writers’ Centre announce the winner of the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2022

  • Kendrick Loo, recipient of the Desmond O'Grady International Poetry Competition 2022
  • Limerick Writers Centre - Desmond O'Grady International Poetry Competition awards ceremony.
Kendrick Loo, recipient of first prize in the Desmond O'Grady International Poetry Competition for his poem 'Laundry'.

The winners and commended poems of the Desmond O'Grady International Poetry Competition 2022 were announced today (Wednesday 13th April) by judge Adam Wyeth at the Desmond O’Grady Memorial Reading held at the People’s Museum of Limerick.

First prize: Kendrick Loo for his poem Laundry

Kendrick Loo is a poet and reviewer based in Singapore. His writing has appeared in fourteen poems, EcoTheo, and Sundog Lit. He read English and Management at the University of St Andrews, and from 2019 to 2021 commissioned and edited literary reviews for Singapore Unbound. He currently works in academic publishing.

Second Prize: Rosemary Geary for her poem For Your Mother

Highly Commended

  1. Night Walker, Michael Farry
  2. Press Photographs, Michael Farry
  3. dehiscence of the narrative, Joanne McCarthy
  4. Luctus, Peggy McCarthy
  5. Journey in Heavy Snow, Eibhlís Carcione
  6. Old Sepia Photo, Eibhlís Carcione
  7. No Idyll, Then, Mary Melvin Geoghan
  8. The Stories She'd Tell, Sarah Murphy
  9. Den, Robert Walton


Said judge Adam Wyeth about the winning poem:  "I am delighted to give First Prize of the 2022 Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition to the poem Laundry. 

I was honoured to know Desmond. I remember asking him once what poetry does for him as a person, and he quickly replied that it humanises him. I’ve always loved this answer, and that’s precisely what this year’s winning poem does for me when I read it.

Laundry is a poem that caught my eye and captured my heart immediately. It’s a poem that packs an emotive response without any force. The imagery does much of the talking, transforming the ordinary task of doing the laundry into something extraordinary. The poem appears effortless: direct, lucid, written with a light touch. But these qualities bely a poem of ruthless economy with rigorous attention to detail and a superb sense of metaphor and

symbol. This ability to pin-point grief and heartbreak so deftly and alchemically is what makes this poem literally second to none."

 

The winning poem:

Laundry

the tuesday after you left

i watched the wash spin

for hours, carrying the load

i didn't have time to care for

when you were here. i watched

all the socks we wore

exploring the town together

lose themselves of dirt. pressed

my nose against your pillow

chasing the imprint

of your smell. we say

there is never enough

time to do the laundry.

oh what a magnificent lie

all of this laundry: warm

with no one to hold.

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