Award 2001
Award 2002

Gabriel Griffin,
 Poetry on the Lake,

or telephone:
(+39) 347 - 8464227

                                                    Computer graphics by Giacomo Saporito



Lake Orta, in North Italy, is called also Cusius or St Julio’s lake, after the evangelising saint who arrived from Greece in the fourth century  and  founded a church on the little island.  First, though, he had to get rid of all the dragons, wyverns and serpents  (mere pagans, most likely) with which the island was rife ( but things have a way of reoccurring...)

Ever since, the romantic and mystical atmosphere of the Cusian lake has long been a source of inspiration to poets, artists and writers. Orta hopes that contemporary poets may continue this long literary tradition in modern verse and has instituted an annual award : The Silver Wyvern, which will be presented to the winner of the Poetry on the Lake competition.  



Poetry on the Lake

Patrons: CICT-UNESCO, British Council,

Regione Piemonte, Provincia di Novara, Comune di Orta San Giulio

Supported by: Alessi, Consorzio Cusio Turismo, Hotel L’Approdo, Hotel San Rocco

 Annual events


1st January – 1st May :  International Poetry Competition (see below for details, rules)

March : UNESCO World Poetry Day readings on Sacro Monte, Orta

September: Poetry Celebration & Awards (3 days) Lake Orta


2005 dates: 23rd-25th September – 5th Poetry Celebration and Awards


And a special event Nine Poets for Montale



Poetry on the Lake 5th International Poetry Competition

Judge :  Penelope Shuttle

Closing date :  1st May 2005

Prizes (in £, € or $):    Silver Wyvern & £400 ,  3 x  £100.

 And Bill Winter Award  & £100 for best short poem, judged by Poetry on the Lake

open theme, max.60 lines (Silver Wyvern) or   13 lines (Bill Winter), set forms or free verse

Autumn Poetry Celebration and Prizegiving . Possible hotel nights  for winners.



Poems in English,  unpublished. Poems not returned

No entry form required

Send 2 copies of each poem, one without identification, the second with name, address,contact numbers,fees enclosed..

.For Receipt, Results or info please enclose 2 UK E stamps or 2 Italian stamps or 2 IRCs (International Reply Coupons from post offices all over the world).


Fees: Silver Wyvern : £5 first poem, then £4 per poem. Bill Winter (mark BW) £4 then £2. Under 20’s and “hard up” both sections half price. No limit to number of poems entered.

Euro: 10 per poem or 3 for 25 euros.            .

USA /Canada/rest of world:   either  12 International Reply Coupons (available from post offices world-wide) per poem  or US $12 per poem (3 for $30) , Canadian $15   per poem (3 x  40)

Cheques and UK postal orders only , which  must be crossed and made payable to G.Griffin-Hall  (NOT to Poetry on the Lake nor to Silver Wyvern).. No credit cards, or postal orders (except UK POs) Cash is risky   (slightly  safer  wrapped in typists’ carbon copy paper). International postal money orders to Griffin at Orta S. Giulio Post office, 28016 NO, Italy.

Judge’s decision final. Winning and selected poems may be printed in anthology*/on internet (copyright remains author’s),eventually with an Italian translation.  Awards and readings in autumn

send to:

Gabriel Griffin, Poetry on the Lake, Isola San Giulio, 28016 Orta, NO, Italy

* anthology Lakes and Fresh Waters, competition judged by Al Alvarez (88 poems, winner also in Italian).

·         ·         anthology Hortus Conclusus, competition judged by Brian Patten, Kevin Bailey, Gary Bills (44 poems, 11 with translations in Italian facing text).

·         ·         Booklets winning poems 2004  £3 or € 5. Dragon anthology: please contact.

Price of each anthology: £7. 50 Euro: €12  UK , Irish and Italian cheques only (others please contact) or UK & Italian postal orders CROSSED and made payable to G.Griffin-Hall.


poetryonthelake@yahoo.co.uk    tel: (+39) 347 - 8464227



4th Poetry Celebration and Awards September 24th-26th 2004


The 4th International poetry competition, held in the spring, had a wide participation.  President of the panel of judges was Carol Ann Duffy, tutor for postgraduate poets at Manchester University, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and recipient of the most prestigious poetry prizes, considered by the Guardian “a superstar in the world of British poetry” . The other judges, who each read all the poems and drew up a shortlist, were Kevin Bailey, editor and founder of Haiku Poetry Magazine, Robert Morley, workshop leader and teacher at the University of  Pavia, and Michael J. Woods, editor of Tandem poetry magazine.


The Silver Wyvern 2004 was won by John Whitworth, well-known poet and prolific author of articles and books on the art of writing poetry, besides seven collections of his own poems. Second came another well-known poet, Penelope Shuttle, also author of seven collections, books, tutor for the Arvon Foundation and founder of the Falmouth Poetry Group workshop. Third was Jacqueline Gabbitas, administrator of the Poetry School, London, and fourth came Maria Wallace, a Catalan poet living in Ireland. The Bill Winter Award  was won by Karl Ghattas, an Egyptian doctor practising in Harley Street, philosopher and lecturer in aesthetics at Winchester and Barcelona. Special Mention to Neville Keery. Readings of winning and commended poets who were present, Ann Drysdale, June English, Elisabeth Rowe and Barry Tempest were followed by a reading by Mario Petrucci. Mr Hector Low, Director of the Britih Council, Milan, kindly presented the awards in Sala Tallone. A cocktail followed at Villa Smeraldina.

Before the presentation of the awards, Gabriel Griffin remembered the Baroness Brigstocke, patron of honour of Poetry on the Lake, who sadly had died in the spring. Heather Brigstocke, brilliant and unforgettable high mistress of St Paul’s Girls School, esteemed for her untiring work for charity, on which she was engaged when she died, was a frequent visitor to Isola San Giulio and had warmly encouraged Poetry on the Lake from its inception. The tragedy of Beslan was remembered by Nunu Geladze, who read a poem by the Georgian poetess Makvala Gonashvili dedicated to all children everywhere.


Other events during the weekend, introduced by the Mayor of Orta Dr. Stefano Cusinato, included a vivacious workshop The Creative Underbelly of Science led by Mario Petrucci, poet in residence at the Imperial War Museum and winner of numerous poetry prizes including the Telegraph-Arvon prize; the traditional readings on Sacro Monte (notable was the reading by Karl Ghattas within the chapel dedicated to the Temptations of St Francis) and at the Palazzotto; and an afternoon with Bruna dell’Agnese, well-known Italian poet, translator and literary critic, who delighted all with her excellent talk and translations of Elisabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson besides reading poems from her latest collection. The Consorzio Cusio Turismo offered a welcome cocktail at Pettenasco to which poets arrived by boat at sunset and the Hotel L’Approdo offered an excellent dinner . The winners were guests of  the 4 star lakeside Hotel  San Rocco.

A DVD of the weekend, filmed by video operators from the Nuova Università di Cinema e Television   Rome,  is in production . Those who would like a copy, please contact  Poetry on the Lake.




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