Down Memory Lane, March 19 2021

Distinguished poet Gerard Rochford.
Distinguished poet Gerard Rochford.

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Potter creates prize in memory of distinguished poet father

Campbeltown Pottery owner Simon Rochford is creating a bespoke commemorative plate as the main prize in a new international poetry competition in remembrance of his late father, the distinguished poet Gerard Rochford.

The Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021 launches on World Poetry Day – Sunday, March 21.

Organised by the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency in collaboration with Gerard Rochford’s Literary Executors the competition 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 Mr Rochford’s poetry, while two runners-up will each receive small commemorative plates and £50.

Dr  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) was educated at Hull and Oxford universities but lived most of his life in his adopted home city of 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 10 children – including Simon – 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 June 30 and winners will be announced on Sunday September 1.

Full details and entry rules for the competition are available on the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency website at https://mistandmountain.co.uk/the-gerard-rochford-poetry-prize-2021/