Jamie McKendrick – The Years  (Arc Publications)



Judges’ Comments

The judges admired these poems for their formal accomplishment, quiet erudition, variety of theme and engaging introspection.  But, beyond that, it was the complex and various interplay between the poems and McKendrick’s own ink and watercolour pictures that marked this pamphlet out as being a truly singular achievement. Reader and viewer become caught up in the profound similarities and differences there are between poem and picture; they also become transfixed by subtle, sometimes sombre, hued world the two of them create.




A life of doing nothing is a life

well-lived, is casting a shadow only where

other shadows live, doing no other life

real harm, like eating only road-kill.

Granted, it’s not as if it does much good,

or makes the dark light, but at least it leaves

the dark intact, or even audible,

as inky grains sift through the atmosphere


slowing their cadence to a serenade.

So when I’m doing nothing, let’s be clear,

I’m listening out across unmeasured space

for the pulse of yesteryear or — who can say —

the yet-unfurled. Call it a waste of space

but a waste seeded with luxuriant weeds.





The 2020 Shortlists

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