The winners, and commended poems, of the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2022 were announced last night by judge Adam Wyeth at the Desmond O’Grady memorial reading in 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’.
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
The winning poem:
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.
What judge Adam Wyeth said 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 humanizes 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.”