Look through our shortlist for the Ink Sweat & Tears June 2020 Pick of the Month and you would be forgiven for thinking we had come to the end of the world. But all six poems show us out of sorrow can come such beauty. And perhaps some hope – you might be tempted to put your vote towards Finola Scott‘s plea that out of the dark woods, ‘there are promises’, in her poem ‘Tell Me’. Or will it be the underlying despair that hides behind the rhythm and motion of both ‘Unravelling’ by Jonah Corren and ‘Country Train of My Country’ from Mbizo Chirasha. Is it the hint of Shirley Jackson in Gary Jude‘s ‘Birds’ that guides your choice or the unease and subtle menace that pervades Fiona Theokritoff’s ‘Smickling’? Or will you sit down with Priya Subberwal and ‘how to lose your mind at the end of the world (an instruction manual)’ and give up the ghost?

All six of the shortlist have been chosen by Helen or Kate or received the most attention on social media. They can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for Your June 2020 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 21st July at 4pm.

For the lockdown period, our normal Pick ‘prize’ of £10 towards the UK charity of your choice or a National Book Token will rise to £30*. Charities and booksellers, both, have been hit hard by the shutdown and we wanted to make a (admittedly very small) gesture of support.


*Book tokens can only be used within the UK and will be divided between £20 for the winning writer and a £10 token for the person of their choice.