A new international poetry competition, in memory of distinguished Aberdeen poet Gerard Rochford, is being launched on World Poetry Day on 21 March 2021.
The Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021 – organised by the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency in collaboration with Gerard Rochford’s Literary Executors – invites writers to submit an original poem on the theme of ‘Family’.
The overall winner – selected by Dr Wayne Price, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen – will receive £150 and a large, bespoke commemorative plate, courtesy of Campbeltown Pottery, with an excerpt of Gerard Rochford’s poetry while two runners up will each receive small commemorative plates and £50.
Dr Wayne Price said: “I am honoured to judge the Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021. Gerard was a highly accomplished poet, whose writings reflected a broad hinterland of experience, exploring human relationships, wildlife and politics. He was always generous with his time and advice too, nurturing and encouraging others to express themselves, write creatively and get into print. Hosting a competition in his name is an ideal way to acknowledge his achievements while promoting new poetry and poets as Gerard so often did in his lifetime.”
Brought up in Worcestershire, Gerard Rochford (1932 – 2019) lived most of his life in his adopted home city Aberdeen, where he was a distinguished professor and psychotherapist. Poetry was his true vocation, and he was widely published in newspapers, influential online magazines, chapbooks and poetry collections. At the heart of Aberdeen’s vibrant poetry scene, Gerard was highly respected, not only for the quality of his own work, but for his generosity of spirit and time, mentoring and championing the work of nascent poets.
A regular visitor to Canada, Rochford established himself as a transatlantic poet and became an important and active part of the poetry scene in Victoria. Poetry was a lifetime labour of love but, as father to ten children with his wife Anne, who was of Indian descent, Gerard’s greatest joy was his family.
The closing date for entries to the Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021 is 30 June 2021 and winners will be announced on Sunday 1 September 2021. Full details and entry rules for the competition are available on the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency website and the Gerard Rochford Poetry page.
Note to Editors:
Gerard Rochford – Biography
Gerard Rochford (17 December 1932 – 18 December 2019) was brought up in Worcestershire, England, educated at Hull and Oxford Universities but lived most of his life in Aberdeen, Scotland.
A distinguished professor and psychotherapist, poetry was a lifetime’s vocation. Gerard’s poetry was widely published throughout his lifetime; from student newspapers to influential online magazines and many of his own chapbooks and collections. His extensive writings explored human relationships, wildlife and politics. ‘Perhaps they are all one’, he said.
At the heart of Aberdeen’s vibrant poetry scene, Gerard was the co-founder and leading light of the city’s poetry group which still thrives today, holding monthly poetry evenings at arts café, Books and Beans. Gerard was highly respected in the group, not only for the quality of his own work, but for his generosity of spirit and time, mentoring, editing and championing the work of nascent poets. A regular visitor to Canada, he established himself as a transatlantic poet and became an important and active part of the poetry scene in Victoria.
As Makar for the respected online magazine Scottish Review, Gerard submitted a poem every month for over five years. His poem My Father’s Hand was chosen by the Scottish Poetry Library as one of the best poems of 2006.
Gerard lived in the west end of Aberdeen from 1963 until he died in 2019. Well travelled and well read, he had an exceptionally broad hinterland to draw inspiration from for his work. Poetry was a lifetime labour of love but as father of ten children with his Anglo-Indian wife Anne (d.1991), Gerard’s greatest joy was his family.
DNA – Poems for a Family – foreword by Morelle Smith.
Cairn – Poems for the Isle of Lewis – foreword by Robert Macfarlane.
Failing Light – handcrafted limited edition from the same handpress used by Ted Hughes.
Of Love and Water – a collaboration with Canadian artist David Ladmore.
Morning Crossword – a collaboration with Scottish artist Esther Green.
NATIONAL POETRY LIBRARY