Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie give poets food for thought.

Contemporary poets Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie clearly agreed with Mary Poppins, when she said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The two have reopened their pop-up poetry project, The Great British Bard Off. The blog celebrates contemporary poetry in conjunction with the BBC’s surprisingly popular TV series, or as the website puts it, “an affectionate poetic tribute to the baking series The Great British Bake Off“. Key and Runcie aim to produce and showcase poetry that all have one thing in common – baked goods; the most favourable of which being cakes.

Charlotte Runcie
Amy Key

The project, which was founded in 2012, invites poets to submit work centring on the theme of sugary treats. Having had a successful first year, the pair are reopening the blog for 2013, with some big names already throwing their hat into the ring for the coveted title of Star Baker. Like much of Amy Key’s poetry, this year’s offerings thus far – although all containing cake references – are very much not about cakes. The poetry is heavy with metaphorical value and hidden meaning.

Amy Key is due to release her sophomore collection, Luxe, later this year. Her poetry is layered with themes of female sexuality and vulnerability. This too shines through in her own submission to The Great British Bard Off:

Meanwhile, I am in love with blondes
in the newest way passion can exert itself. But,
it was blondes who I first edged my knee towards,
some hours before intolerable kisses.
Lips I’ve kissed crumble like meringue.
Hopes should recede with age, but this isn’t
a right-seeming present!
It seems that sugar-coated femininity is the perfect addition to poetry about cakes.
If you’d like to try your hand at Amy and Charlotte’s The Great British Bard Off, submissions may be sent to
Kirsty Capes

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