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This year’s judge, Brian Moses, was looking for something ‘that stays in the mind, something that wriggles into the reader’s head and sets up home there for a while. I was also looking for that “I wish I’d written this poem” feeling.’
 
The poem that Brian chose was Andrew Weale’s ‘Wonder-pudderful’.

‘It only took a few lines for me to realise that this was a poem by a writer who understood what it takes to write a poem for this age group. I was hooked from the moment I read “a hyphen had swept between them/like a bird/and joined them with its wings”. I love the way that the word existed only for a brief moment in time, but it reminded me of something that the French writer Montaigne once said: a rose blooms once and then dies, but for anyone who saw the rose, it blooms forever. This poem has such potential and children will love the idea behind it.’ Brian Moses
 
Andrew Weale’s dream was to be the next Pavarotti. He has performed under many of the great conductors, such as Sir Georg Solti and Simon Rattle. Then one evening, after a performance, he felt an irresistible urge to put pen to paper and out came a piece of writing in perfect verse. This was The Oscar Song (or How To Become A Star), which was later put to music and performed (by Andrew) in one of the big Stuttgart theatres. Since then, Andrew has written mainly in verse for young children. His picture books Spooky Spooky House and Dinosaur Doo have won awards (including the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2013), and his latest project is a collection of poems about punctuation: Functuation! Punctuation! The Caterpillar Poetry Prize has gone to one of those poems, ‘Wonder-pudderful’. And how wonder-pudderful that is!

The winning poem is published in the summer issue of The Caterpillar.

The following were also commended by the judge Brian Moses: 

Mrs Featherstone’s Daughter by Carole Bromley
Carole Bromley has three collections with Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being a children’s collection, Blast Off! This is the third time Carole has been commended in The Caterpillar Poetry Prize. She is currently working on a second book of poetry for children.

The Wild Woods of Summer by Cheryl Moskowitz
Cheryl Moskowitz has led courses for the Poetry School and teaches on the Creative Writing BA at the University of East London. Publications include a collection of poetry for adults and one for children, and a novel, Wyoming Trail, published by Granta.
 
The Giant’s Widow by Michael O’Connor
Michael O’Connor teaches at St Nicholas Montessori College, Dun Laoghaire. He has four adult children and one granddaughter. He lives in Ballybrack, Co Dublin.
 
The Troublesome Comma by Chris Owen
Chris Owen hails from Sussex in England. A former radio journalist and newsreader, he migrated to Perth in 2003, where he changed careers to become a primary school teacher. He is the author of two books for children, and was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award.
 
A Collection of Fleas by Heather F. Reid
Heather F Reid lives near Perth, Scotland with her rescue dog and two crazy cats. She was once chased by a very angry elephant. Some of her scribblings can be found at www.heatherfreid.com
 
For the Losers by William Sharff
Billy Sharff lives in the woods of New Hampshire, where he writes stories and poems that are usually too silly to be published. 
 
Moo and What’s Mine by Robert Schechter
Robert Schechter’s poems for children have been published in The Caterpillar, Highlights for Children, Cricket,  Spider, Ladybug and many anthologies. He also writes for adults. You can learn more about him at bobschechter.com

The Wall by Susie Weber
Susie Weber is a writer and educator. She lives with her husband and twin 11-year-old daughters in Boulder, Colorado where they enjoy reading good writing and playing outdoors.


About the Prize

The prize is for a single unpublished poem written by an adult for children (aged 7–11)

The poem can be of any length and on any subject. 

Anyone can enter, as long as they are over 16. 

Previous judges include Chrissie Gittins and John Hegley. 

Previous winners include Laura Mucha, Louise Greig and Coral Rumble. 

The prize runs annually from January, with a closing date of 30 March. 

The winner receives €1,000 plus publication in The Caterpillar.