John Lennon Poetry Competition to be judged by Poet Laureate

John Lennon Poetry Competition to be judged by Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has agreed to judge a new international poetry competition celebrating the life of master lyricist, published poet and world icon John Lennon.

The final stages of an international hunt for ‘Liverpool Lennon Poet 2010‘ will take place during the John Lennon Tribute Season, a major two-month cultural programme marking 70 years since Lennon’s birth and 30 years since his untimely death. The season takes place from 9 October – 9 December 2010.

The Liverpool Lennon Poet competition is being organised by the world’s leading permanent Beatles-themed visitor attraction, the Beatles Story and Liverpool-born poet Roger Cliffe-Thompson who is the official Liverpool BT Arena poet.

This world-wide poetry competition will form a significant part of the John Lennon Tribute Season, bringing tourists and poetry lovers from across the globe to Liverpool and culminating in a Liverpool Lennon Performance Poetry Slam on 6 November co-hosted by Jason Richardson of poetry collective, Wirral Ode Show.

Poets from across the world are encouraged to enter unpublished verses which celebrate the life of the music legend. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will lead a team of judges who will award prizes in two categories:

1. Performance Poet – Poems composed and performed in Liverpool by their writers
2. Paper Poet – Poems submitted by email

Early in The Beatles’ career, John Lennon was tagged the ‘literary’ Beatle, having written two books, In His Own Write (1964) and The Spaniard in the Works (1965) plus a number of poems which appear throughout the books.

In 1965 he performed his poem ‘I Sat Belonely’ in the Beatles movie Help and in the same year he performed his verse ‘The Wrestling Dog’ on BBC2’s satirical programme ‘Not Only, but Also’. His other poems include ‘Deaf Ted, Danoota (and me)’ and ‘The fat budgie’.

Lennon named Oscar Wilde and Lewis Caroll among his literary influences. His 1967 song “I Am the Walrus” borrowed imagery from Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” and words from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

The competition is open to anyone in the world and the winning poet will be the first to hold the accolade of Liverpool Lennon Poet 2010. Competition organisers are hoping to publish the poems in a poetry anthology.

A separate Schools Poetry Competition will encourage secondary school pupils in Merseyside to write and perform their verses at a Schools Poetry Slam on 9 November. With John Lennon and the Beatles now on the curriculum, local pupils will be asked to compose a poem based on Lennon’s lyrics and song titles and another verse celebrating the icon’s life.

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate said, “I’m delighted to judge this competition which honours a famous son of a wonderful city. Liverpool is a city vibrant with language and poetry and from his earliest lyrics John Lennon displayed a poet’s sensitivity to language.

Jerry Goldman, Managing Director of the Beatles said, “John Lennon’s fans worldwide still adore his lyrics and poetry decades after his death. His songs were packed with lyrical debate and timeless words. We wanted to set up an international poetry competition allowing people across the globe to demonstrate the influence Lennon has had on their lives and lyrics.

For full entry details, terms and conditions please visit

How to enter

1 – Performance Poet
Closing date for entries – 5pm Friday 10th September 2010
Email your entries to:
Poems will be performed on Saturday 6 November 2010

2 – Paper poet
Closing date for entries – 5pm Friday 10 September 2010
Email your entries to:
Finalists will be notified by 5pm Friday 8 October 2010

3 – Schools Poet
Register your secondary school’s interest by 5pm Friday 11 June 2010 by emailing:
Closing date for entries: 5pm Friday 02 July 2010
Schools event Tuesday 9 November 2010