Jane Caven




On judging the Environmental Poet of the Year prize


“This is the second year that I have participated in the judging panel, and I was delighted to find that I was not simply revisiting familiar territory but enjoying a whole new experience.

It was a great pleasure to work with my two fellow judges, each of us bringing our distinct — but complementary — skills to the task and I learned so much from them in the process.

There were of course, challenges along the way. The time commitment required to read and fully digest many hundreds of poems, was significant, and reading some of the work was emotionally exhausting. There was also a need to address the tension between recognising true quality writing while at the same time encouraging wider appeal, which meant that all judges had to enjoy the poems and respond to them strongly, whether or not the work was intellectually challenging.  And of course, let’s not forget to mention the mental gymnastics required in discussing and revisiting the portfolios and agreeing the final winner.

As with all worthwhile activities, our efforts were richly rewarded by exquisite and memorable poetry.”



Jane Caven is a former plc director (public limited company) and co-founder of a successful management consultancy; she is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and holds an MSc in business. Jane also holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and after 42 years in business has returned to this, her first and enduring passion.

A keen reader, she enjoys a broad range of genres, but particularly both classical and contemporary poetry. Since retiring in 2020 Jane has become a volunteer at Wordsworth Grasmere, where she is a member of the Poetry Readers group who recite to visitors to Dove Cottage and the Museum.


Environmental Poet of the Year prize

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