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Linda France wins National Poetry Competition with erotic botany story

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Piece imagining an encounter between a buttoned-up man and a flirtatious flower scoops £5,000 prize, with Maggie Sawkins picking up Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry

A poem that imagines an erotic encounter between a buttoned-up man and a seductive flower has won the National Poetry Competition, with the poet Linda France plucking the £5,000 award for Bernard and Cerinthe.

Hailed by the judge Jane Yeh as a "strange narrative" that is "truly imaginative and musical as much a pleasure to read on the page as it is on the tongue", the poem describes Bernard's "shock to find himself, sheltering / from the storm in a greenhouse, // seduced by a leaf blushing blue / at the tips, begging to be stroked".

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