Jo Gatford wins 2020 Poetry Competition

Jo Gatford, co-founder of Writers’ HQ and author of White Lies (2014, Legend Press), has won Shooter’s 2020 Poetry Competition with “The Case Against Pockets for Women”.

Gatford’s poem plays on the historical lack of – or inadequate size of – pockets in women’s clothing, a sartorial gender disparity commented upon by many from Christian Dior to Invisible Women author Caroline Criado Perez. (The latter’s commentary on the subject recently led to YouGov research into the matter.) The poem’s ironic, imaginative argument and feminist bite made it the clear winner of this year’s contest.

Also embedding social commentary of sorts, Emma Wood earned second place with “I know you sent him to boarding school”, delivering an emotional gut punch with insightful observation and powerful imagery. Wood has just earned a Creative Writing MA with distinction from Surrey University, and writes poetry in between working on children’s adventure fiction.

A few other poets on the shortlist worthy of mention include David Butler for “Light Rail”, Marilyn Timms for “Miscarriage of Justice”, and Rod Whitworth for “Polyphemous”.

Jo Gatford is on Twitter at @jmgatford, and her website is Emma Wood is on Twitter at @Emz_Wood.

Both winning pieces are available to read via the Competition Winners page, while “The Case Against Pockets for Women” will also appear in Shooter’s Winter 2021 edition (the Animal Love issue), which will be published in the new year. To subscribe to Shooter or place a single issue order, please visit the Subscriptions page.

We hope you enjoy the winning poems – feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments!