Blowing my own trumpet Poetry

Weird to win


I won the small Happenstance poetry competition about dreams, with a short poem called Formication. I don’t win competitions: fact. So it felt weird to be contacted by Helena Nelson at Happenstance, who publishes my pal Charlotte Gann among others, to be told I’d won a small competition. It’s made me have all these wild thoughts. If I could win a small competition, maybe I could one day win a bigger one.

What was extremely valuable to me was the feedback I got from J.O. Morgan in his blog post. To know someone has given your work enough attention to unpack the poem is everything a writer can ask. And when it is a poet of J.O. Morgan’s stature (he was one of the poets in last year’s TSE shortlist) then this made me even more chuffed.

I have written about two dozen shorter poems in a new style this year (two dozen is loads for me) and Formication is one of them. This thumbs-up for a new approach couldn’t have come at a better time. So here’s my wee poem. Formication, by the way, is the name for the feeling that insects are crawling over your skin.


The Dictionary for Dreamers says insects
are worries, at least in dreams. Therefore
all those ant poisons, the Raid and Nippon
under the sink, are there to calm me.

I loathe their collective mind, the purposeful lines
that trickle from my ears onto my pillow.
I hate how once you get one, you get more,
lofting bitten dreams in their leaf-cutter jaws.

Peter Kenny

Newsflash: winning is nice

I love the challenge of being asked into an agency to work on a pitch. I was called last week to say that work I had done with resident art director guru Keith Hardy before and after Christmas won a tidy pharma pitch for my chums at Grey Healthcare on an eye health product.

I surprise myself by liking to work on pitches against other agencies so much as I used to think of myself as not particularly competitive. I jokingly blame my brother for traumatising me when we played together as kids. He had two modes: win or die (or at least explode with rage). Winning never seems quite so important to me, and part of me hated to see my younger brother so devastated. (It has to be noted that his death or glory approach did seem to work though, and I seemed to remember him winning more than me).

Something happens when I work in a team however. These ridiculous inhibitions about competing are bypassed and I get a tremendous kick out of seeing my creative thinking spun out into anything from iPad apps to billboards.

And there is something else I have to admit. Being a gracious loser is all well and good, but winning is a great tonic for the soul sometimes.