July–December 2015 Grand Prize Winner

Marc Savey-Bennett, “The Butcher’s Choice”

With great pleasure we announce Marc Savey-Bennett of London, UK, is the grand prize winner of the July–December 2015 National Amateur Poetry Competition! His poem, “The Butcher’s Choice,” demonstrates his strong vocabulary and lyrical rhythm blended with free-style ease.

This was Savey-Bennett’s first time entering a poetry contest, and although prize money and competition are reasons he submitted, his principal motive was his desire to share poetry with others. “I’m very grateful to have won the contest. It’s a really nice feeling to discover that what you’re writing might actually mean something to somebody else. It’s a really important first step for a poet and probably the hardest one to take,” says Savey-Bennett. He has read the second and third place entries and adds, “There are some that I really like so it’s nice to be in good company.” 

“The Butcher’s Choice” was selected for its stellar use of rhyme, alliteration, and imagery, among other reasons. Although there’s no set scheme, rhyme plays a large role: “Your new-found taste for the old cut ‘n’ paste / is just such a waste of my talents.” The poem doesn’t follow a rigid structure, but it provides a pleasing rhythm which propels readers forward. It ends with a great example: “‘Till the sweetest release as the gold cockatrice / puffs cyanide into my eyes.” Perhaps most notable about Savey-Bennett’s poem is its bizarre imagery; why is Reptile Room the narrator’s “name for the places where murder occurs on a daily basis”? Metaphor is a poet’s well-honed tool, and Savey-Bennett employs it well: “But the balance of power swings your way / As I circle the whirlpool of lies.”

He has been writing poetry for two years and prefers to write “everywhere and anywhere that solitude can be found.” He likes writing poetry—but not prose—and has this to say about poetic structure: “I find strictly metered verse rather tedious and overly restrictive but I cannot cure myself of my addiction to rhyme or, in particular, the chiming repetition of vowel sounds.” His poetic goal is “only to discover more hidden rooms within [his] own mind.” 

Marc Savey-Bennett considers “every thought [he’s] ever had, every book [he’s] read, every word [he’s] never dared to speak” to be the major influences or motivating factors in his work. We asked for his favorite poets, but he said, “Some of my favorite ‘poets’ are actually writers of prose who write in a poetic or powerful style I admire, others are musicians.” His list includes Woolf, Bowie, Eliot, Plath, Shakespeare, Joyce, Zola, Dylan, García Márquez, Dickinson, and Selby Jr.

Savey-Bennett earned his doctorate from the University of Bristol, UK, in physics and works in design/engineering. Witty as well as lyrical, Savey-Bennett rates his level of poetic seriousness (from 1 to 10) at 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375…, the mathematical quantity π (pi). In his free time, when not writing poetry, he enjoys reading, music, cooking, running, skiing, swimming and hanging out with his three favorite people. 

Eber & Wein Publishing congratulates the brilliant twenty second place and one hundred third place winners. Judges whittled down thousands upon thousands of poems before finally selecting the best 121 entries.