The Judges 2007
Susan Bassnett

Susan Bassnett is Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick, in the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, which she founded in the 1980s. She is author of over 20 books, and her Translation Studies, (3rd ed. 2002) which first appeared in 1980, has remained consistently in print and has become the most important textbook around the world in the expanding field of Translation Studies. Her Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction (1993) has also become an internationally renowned work and has been translated into several languages.

Recent books include Exchanging Lives (2002), a collection of poems and translations, Sylvia Plath: an Introduction to the Poetry (2005) and with Peter Bush, The Translator as Writer (2006). She also writes for several national newspapers. She takes a keen interest in regional and national policy for the arts and chairs the board of the Warwick Arts Centre.

Jacqueline Osherow

Jacqueline Osherow is the author of five books of poetry, including With A Moon In Transit (1996), Dead Men's Praise (1999) and The Hoopoe's Crown (2005), and makes extensive use of terza rima, the sonnet and other formal poetic arrangements. Osherow has been awarded the Witter Bynner Prize by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation and a number of prizes from the Poetry Society of America.

Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Twentieth Century American Poetry, The Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Jewish-American Poetry (1995), Best American Poetry (1998), The New Breadloaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, The Penguin Book of Sonnets,The New Yorker, Paris Review and many others. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah.

Don Paterson

Don Paterson was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1963, and works as a writer, editor and musician. His poetry collections are Nil Nil, God's Gift to Women, The Eyes (all Faber & Faber) and The White Lie – New and Selected Poems (Graywolf) and Landing Light (Faber 2003). Landing Light was awarded the Whitbread Poetry Award and the T S Eliot Prize, which Paterson is the first poet to have won twice. His book of aphorisms, The Book of Shadows was published by Picador in 2004. He has also edited 101 Sonnets (Faber), a selected Robert Burns (Faber), and Last Words (with Jo Shapcott, Picador). He has been the recipient of several other literary awards, among them the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award, a Forward Prize and three Scottish Arts Council Book Awards. He received a Creative Scotland Award in January 2002. He is currently Poetry Editor for Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, and teaches on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews.

As well as poetry, he writes drama for the stage and for radio, and has worked as a book reviewer, columnist and music journalist for several national newspapers, and a computer games reviewer for the Times. As a jazz guitarist, he has worked solo and with the ensemble Lammas, which he co-led with the saxophonist Tim Garland and with whom he recorded five albums, the most recent of these being Sea Changes. He also composes for the classical instrument. Having lived in London for many years, he now divides his time between Kirriemuir in Scotland and London.

Orpheus, his versions of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus, was published by Faber in 2006 and has received a Special Commendation from the PBS. He is working on a book on poetic composition.


Photo by Caroline Forbes
Christopher Whitby

Christopher Whitby studied English at Cambridge and then undertook postgraduate work at The Shakespeare Institute. His work on the Renaissance 'magus' John Dee (which moved him from purely literary concerns into the fields of the histories of science and thought, Renaissance occult philosophy, and much more) was published in 1988. Nearly 20 years after completion of the original thesis, this work was described as 'still the cornerstone of research' in studies of Dee's 'actions with spirits'.

Christopher spent many years as a teacher, including teaching courses on sonnets for Lifelong Learning, and is the Director of Open Poetry Ltd. He writes in various genres, but at present his poetry is almost exclusively in sonnet form as he feels its possibilities are by no means exhausted.

The Open Poetry sonnet competition is his idea.
Judging Method

A sub-committee of the panel will read all the entries to arrive at a shortlist . The Director of Open Poetry Ltd will exclude himself from the final panel.

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Poetry competition 2007