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Liverpool Gin and Roger McGough look for the UK’s next big names in poetry

National poetry competition launches with one of Britain’s best loved poets.

Roger McGough

With Brits officially rekindling their love of verse, Liverpool Gin has enlisted the help of Roger McGough to find the UK’s next big names in poetry.

A nationwide search to find the next great poet launches on Global Scouse Day (Wednesday 28th February) – by Liverpool’s Roger McGough, one of the country’s best-known poets.

Together with Liverpool Gin, McGough is encouraging budding poets from around the UK to write.


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To launch the search and provide creative inspiration, McGough has even penned a poem of his own, extolling the virtues of his home city’s famous dish – Scouse – to coincide with Global Scouse Day, which in recent years has also come to incorporate art and music from across the city.

Roger McGough’s Global Scouse Day, February 28th

We became European Capital of Culture in two thousand and eight
So let’s celebrate ten years by stepping up to the plate

And what’s on the plate? I’ll give you a clue,
While Scousers the world over tuck into our stew

They’re scoffing scouse in Sydney while surfing on Bondi Beach
In Rekjavik they like it thick, lots of vodka within reach

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There’s tartan scouse in Inverness wi’ whisky, neeps and tatties
In Mumbai they add curry paste and make sarnies with chapatis

A million clicking chopsticks mix scouse with rice in China
Japanese guzzling sushi-scouse agree there’s nothing finer

In the middle east they love to feast on scouse (they like it blind)
With peaches, dates and aubergines, and lemons (including rind)

Spanish mums add saffron to make it nice and yeller
‘Ole’ they shout when they bring it out…’Come and get yer scouse paella!’

The best Italian restaurants serve scouse-filled ravioli
In Rome, His Holiness has blessed our dish and made it holy

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In every greasy spoon, every gastronomic venue
Today’s a day to celebrate, for scouse is on the menu

So write your verses, send them in, ‘cos we’re all on a mission
To fly the flag for Poetry, in this brand new competition.

McGough said: “We want as many people as possible to get involved in this poetry competition and hopefully my poem will encourage them to have a go. There will be a lot of hidden talent out there and it’s fantastic to have this competition to bring it out into the open. Don’t forget, there are many different styles of poetry so it would be very hard to get it wrong; just trust your instincts and let your creativity flow.”

Liverpool Gin’s Leanne Ware said: “We expect to hear from people of all abilities, writing everything from classical to contemporary and everything in between, so don’t miss out on your chance to show us what you’ve got.”

Poetry comes from the Greek word poiesis, which means ‘making’ and has a long history dating back to 2100BC. Its popularity of poetry has ebbed and flowed, but in recent times has exploded once again thanks, in part, to social media reinvigorating the art form into something cool, contemporary and exciting.

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Poetry may be popular on social media but it seems poetry books are having their own renaissance; according to Nielsen Book Research more than a million were sold in 2016, with sales up by 13% to £10.5m.

Now it’s your turn!

What are you waiting for? Here are Liverpool Gin’s top five tips to help you get started:

  • Read lots of poetry for inspiration, there are so many styles and techniques you can use
  • Write at the time you are most creative – most of us have a time when we work best be that morning, noon or night
  • Choose a subject that’s close to your heart and don’t forget that many brilliant poems can come from the most ordinary of things
  • Accept you will write some bad poems, but don’t let that put you off because you will also write some fantastic ones!
  • If it’s not flowing, get up and do something else then come back to it, but never give up.

Liverpool Gin is seeking original pieces of work from people 18 and over, no longer than 200 words long, to be submitted at by midnight on Monday 30 April 2018. A shortlist of 50 poems will be selected by Liverpool Gin to be read by Roger McGough, who will pick three finalists including a winner. The winner will be announced on Thursday 4 October 2018, which is National Poetry Day.

The finalists will receive a signed Roger McGough book of poetry and a bottle of Liverpool Gin and the winner’s prize will be presented at the Liverpool Gin distillery by Roger McGough himself during a cultural weekend in Liverpool.

Liverpool Gin is a premium, organic liquid proudly distilled in Liverpool, Merseyside. Handcrafted in a copper still, the artisanal gin combines a unique range of distinctive botanicals, resulting in an intense juniper and complex well-balanced botanical flavour with a bright citrus finish.

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The Liverpool Gin Collection also includes Liverpool Valencian Orange Gin and Liverpool Rose Petal Gin.


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