The Old Mill was well-attended for the judging of the Poetry Competition to crown the Plumstead Poet Laureate 2016. Submissions had been invited on the theme of ‘A Memory of 2016’, whether sad, reflective, amusing or anything in between. From these a panel of judges had selected a short list to be read out in The Old Mill on the night. Entrants had the option of reading their own poem or having it performed by one of several local actors.
Unlike a regular poetry evening, the audience were involved in judging the submissions which were presented in three sets of four, from which the audience voted for their favourite. The winning poem in each group was then read once more so that the favourite poem, as judged by those present, could be chosen as the overall best poem of the evening. This meant everyone was encouraged to listen carefully and appraise each work while it was being read to compare it with the others in the group round, rather than simply listening passively.
There was a moment of consternation when there was a tie in round three, but that was resolved by having four poems read out in the final round. That wasn’t the only surprise though; the recently crowned Queen of Plumstead took time out of her hectic schedule to grace us with her presence. After the third and second medallions had been awarded it meant that there were two poems left – which one would claim first prize? In the event it was Dee’s poem ‘Shut that Yat. A memory of June 23rd’ which was voted the best. After receiving her gold medallion, Dee had the added thrill of being seated in the Throne of Glory to be crowned in time-honoured fashion with her laurel chaplet, freshly contrived that very afternoon from a local public tree. She was quite overcome.