David Grubb has won the English PEN/Arvon Made-Up Words Competition with his poem, Cribbling.
Femi Martin, the judge of the competition, said:
More than anything else, I wanted to be affected by the winning made-up word, and this piece was nothing short of awe-inspiring. This ‘cribbling’ was both new and immediately understood. It is more than strength, more than resilience, more than grace, more than faith; it is all of these things in differing ways at different times. It is a word we can use. The writer has captured something special here, something as rich as the imagery in the piece. This poem moved me; it’s a real gem.
The poem (published below) won from over 400 entries in a competition that saw the arrival of such new words as pokflok, frisms, telesue and clamberquick . An e-book of the shortlisted Made-Up Words will be available soon.
David Grubb wins a place on an Arvon course at one of the English centres.
Sometimes it is language that defies,
the necessary vocabularies of fear and doubt,
the torn up reports and nature of the unsaid;
at other times it is about memory and rapture
and following stars that may not actually exist
and the names of ancient flowers;
brickle star, daisy nettle, wind wonder,
or the nature of rivers and rains
and how we define a stone wall;
and sometimes it is about a girl standing
up to sing to soldiers before they cut her,
or when an old woman gets up to dance
and the crowd becomes a tapestry of clapping,
as mothers blow on the feet of their babies.