Competition Winner – Poetry: ‘Drag King’ by Lauren Merin

Creative WorksWe are pleased to present the winning entry in Poetry from our 2015 Creative Writing Competition, ‘Drag King’ by Lauren Merin.

This poem really stood out for us. It pushes language to its limits and paints a vivid picture, and it was a delicious read.

Our judge felt that this poem crafts language beautifully, and is well-balanced and structurally sound. She found the poet’s use of language to be exploratory, exciting and fresh, and that the language is used in an original way to describe the darkness and glitz of a particular world, where as a reader, we enter on many levels. The poem pushes the boundaries of literal meanings without losing the sense, the core of what the poem sets out to explore. What engages the reader is the poet’s ability to look at how language can be used to express complicated ideas and the poet’s attention to detail. The final line in the poem, ‘I can see you by sequin,’ summarises the multifaceted sphere of this accomplished poem. 

We would like to note that this poem uses a particular structural form which our blog platform does not allow us to replicate. Thus, we have included a photo of below the poem so the reader may see how it is intended to look on the page.

Drag King

Shoals of shaved heads
An asymmetrical pin
Plunged through
Thin skin
You kiss


Silver glint of slit lids
A hip-switching swish


It’s not a secret
Your spirit-gum-stuck soul
Patch under your lip

Dipping into the salt lick
Depths, and treacherous


The pearl pierced into your tongue,
Silver hook
Crushed ice to

Soothe the cut

Conch covered in diesel, a slick rig
Breastbone bound
Precious package

You lucky starfish,
Collecting fistfuls of
Sand dollars

Stand before the
Searchlights so
I can see you by

Drag King Image

About the Author

laurenmittensubmissionphotoLauren Merin is a first year MFA student at Kingston University.  Her interests include poetry, evolutionary biology, teaching, cats, social justice, fiction, and challenging gender normativity.  She grew up in the Sonoran desert in Tucson, AZ, and hopes to reside in London for a very long time.

Join us next week for our winning entry in the short fiction category!


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