AN ENGLISH teacher and poet from Gwent has won first prize in an international poetry competition, with a chance to perform at a poetry festival next year.

Jonathan Edwards, from Crosskeys, won £1,000 in cash, a week at a writing centre in Wales, and a slot to perform his winning poem at the Ledbury Poetry Festival next July.

Teacher Mr Edwards was over the moon following the announcement he had come top in the competition, judged by poet and BBC Radio Three broadcaster Ian McMillan at the Ledbury Poetry Festival’s International Competition.

He said the poem, entitled Servant Minding a Seat for his Master Before a Performance of The Rivals, Covent Garden Theatre, 1775, was inspired by teaching exam text The Rivals to his class.

“The poem is dedicated to my A-level students of 2014," he said.

“I couldn't quite believe it when I heard this awesome news. The Ledbury Poetry Festival has formed an enormous part of my poetic education, both through the poets it has allowed me to see read, and through its excellent and supportive one-to-one tutorial sessions, so it's brilliant to have a poem recognised in this way.”

Mr Edwards’ debut collection of poems published this year, My Family and Other Superheroes, has been shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. He is the only Welsh poet to be shortlisted.