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 The Wedding List


For now it’s on the shelf, intact,

but mine’s the sort of mind that slips.

All this will smash or rust or crack.

I see it turning out like this:


a wineglass with a hairline fault.

The pepperpot not worth its salt.

That sugarbowl will have the sense

knocked out of it. The future tense.


The crystal tumblers, tumbling.

Those saucepans scratched and ditched. The sum

of home in parts. The very rug

pulled out from – Wait, is that my mug?


The vase that never really ‘went’.

A spoon short of the complement…

The list is lost, the loot dispersed.

Just letters, then. The sort that hurt.



We are pleased to announce that 'The Wedding List' has been selected by Carol Ann Duffy as overall winner of the 2018 Women's Poetry Competition. Congratulations Penny!


Penny Boxall is the Development Manager at Shandy Hall, Laurence Sterne’s house in the North York Moors. Her poetry has previously been published in her collections Who Goes There? (Valley Press, 2018) and Ship of the Line (Eyewear, 2014; reissued by Valley Press, 2018), which was winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016.

Judge Carol Ann Duffy said:

The winning poem – ‘A wedding list’ by Penny Boxall – impressed me immediately because it managed to achieve so much in just 16 lines. This is a poet who obviously reads a lot of contemporary poetry. I especially like the way she plays with cliché, her subtle use of rhyme, and how she develops the rhyme scheme. I thought it was rather Larkinesque – though that’s not why I chose it! And I found its theme, of a relationship that’s not working, very moving.

We are currently running a special offer on Penny's books - find out more here!


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