2017 Chapbook Battle

At the 2017 Festival, Poet in Residence Daljit Nagra hosted a Chapbook Battle.

Poets representing independent presses from across the UK were invited to read a selection of their own work and work by other people published by the same press, across a series of rounds until a winner was crowned.

Congratulations to Aliciá Fernandez from Half Moon Books, who was crowned Ilkley Chapbook Champion 2017.

Here’s what Daljit Nagra had to say about the Chapbook Battle:
I was keen to promote the thriving chapbook scene in some small way. I love chapbooks for the way they allow new poets to find their first feet in the world of poetry, while also allowing experienced poets to try out a sample of poems that they might or might not put in a full collection. Chapbooks are about whimsy, are a one-off experiment, or a meditation on a theme. Quick to read albeit they take ages to write!

The ILF team were immediately supportive of this competition idea who’s ultimate aim was to champion the tireless work of selfless poetry publishers.  Each pamphlet publisher could submit one competitor to the competition, and this poet would read from their own work and from that of one other poet published by their publisher. We arranged a first round then a final based on which poets received the loudest applause.

This format of loud applause would seem to indicate that the most dynamic, audience-interacting poet would win. Far from it, our winner was Aliciá Fernandez from Half Moon Books and she won both the heat and then the final because of her gentle, understated delivery that matched the strange moods evoked by her wonderful poems. I have since read her chapbook and been impressed by the formal quality of her work on the page.

I hope this competition will continue and that chapbook publishers will continue to support their post by attending, and that the poet’s family and friends will also attend to ensure the applause is enthusiastic enough to support their own poet, the other poets at the competition and ultimately the ideals of the chapbook in general.