Your Voice Crosses The Ocean: Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Winners Anthology 2019

Page 1

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Anthology

“Becoming a Foyle Young Poet showed me that my voice is worthy of being listened to, as are the voices of everyone who enters it.” – Dana Collins, winner, Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2019

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Anthology The Poetry Society 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX, UK ISBN: 978-1-911046-20-2. Cover: James Brown, © The Poetry Society & authors, 2020 The title of this anthology, Your Voice Crosses the Ocean, is from Isabella Cho’s commended poem, ‘Mariner’, 2019.

Your Voice Crosses the Ocean Poems by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2019

Acknowledgements The Poetry Society is deeply grateful for the generous funding and commitment of the Foyle Foundation, and to Arts Council England for its ongoing support. We would also like to thank Bloodaxe, Bookmark, Brittle Star, Burning Eye, Chatto, Divine, Faber, Forward, Inpress, Macmillan, Menard Press, Nine Arches, Out-Spoken, Paperblanks, Peepal Tree, Picador, Poems on the Underground, Royal National Institute for the Blind, Smokestack, Stonewood Press, The Emma Press and Two Rivers Press for providing winners’ prizes. Thanks to Chris Riddell for his wonderful illustrations and Paul Antonio for the winners’ certificates. We thank our judges Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay for their passion and enthusiasm, and for helping to make this year’s competition such a success. Thanks also to the array of poets who helped in the judging process: they were Jade Cuttle, Phoebe Thomson, Phoebe Stuckes, Keith Jarrett, Adham Smart, Sarah Fletcher, Ella Duffy and Jacqui Adeniji Williams. Our particular thanks to Jane Draycott and Hannah Lowe. We thank Southbank Centre, which hosted the prize-giving ceremony, and Arvon for hosting the Foyle Young Poets’ residency so expertly and warmly. Thank you to Marcus Stanton Communications for raising awareness of the competition, and to our network of educators and poets across the UK for helping us to inspire so many young writers. Finally, we applaud the enthusiasm and dedication of the young people and teachers who make the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award the great success it is today.

Contents Introduction


Em Power Libby Russell Helen Woods Annie Davison Amy Saunders Dana Collins

Meritocracy A Word of Advice Appointments Clocks You’re Not Black my mother, with eight chemo sessions to go Lydia Wei the opioid diaries Cia Mangat Love Poem to Myself Jean Klurfeld Zeyde Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith I want to stand naked in the school hall Nadia Lines Explaining Memes to Keats Suzanne Antelme what are we before we are mothers Thomas Frost The Drowning of Li Po Trinity Robinson Phlegethon Talulah Quinto Maple

7 8 10 11 12 14 16 19 20 23 24 25 26 27 28

··· List of winners and commendations The Poetry Society The Foyle Foundation Young writers and The Poetry Society Schools and The Poetry Society Poetry Class – new resource for secondary schools Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020 Access and nominating your teacher

30 31 32 32 33 34 35 36

Introduction “If poetry is the language of being human, here we have poets speaking in every cadence possible. We were happy to get a sense of how many poets come from all different corners of the world – for there are no borders or boundaries to cross in the world of poetry and no one need carry a passport to get in.” – Raymond Antrobus & Jackie Kay, Judges, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award celebrates its twenty-second anniversary in 2020. Since 1998, the award has been finding, celebrating and supporting the very best young poets from around the world. Founded by The Poetry Society, the award has been supported by the Foyle Foundation since 2001 and is firmly established as the key competition for young poets aged between 11 and 17 years. This booklet features poems by the top 15 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 and celebrates the names of the 85 commended poets. The competition received over 11,000 poems from over 6,000 young poets from across the UK and around the world. Writers from 76 different countries entered the competition from as far afield as Japan, Vietnam, Romania and Mexico, as well as the four corners of the UK. From these poems, judges Jackie Kay and Raymond Antrobus selected 100 winners made up of 15 top poets and 85 commended poets. The competition’s scale and global reach shows what a huge achievement it is to be selected as one of our winners. Raymond and Jackie commented that “this year over 6,000 poets entered the competition – proving to us how many people are turning to poetry to express themselves in these times... We are delighted to get such a strong


sense of poetry being a living, breathing, relevant form that keeps changing across generations.” This winners’ anthology, together with an online anthology of the 85 commended poems, showcases the talent of our fantastic winners and is distributed free to schools, libraries, reading groups and poetry lovers across the UK and the world. We hope that the quality of writing on display will inspire even more young writers to enter the competition in future years. All 100 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award received a range of brilliant prizes, including a year’s youth membership of The Poetry Society and a goody bag stuffed full of books donated by our generous supporters. The Poetry Society will continue to support winners throughout their careers, providing publication, performance and development opportunities, as well as access to a paid internship programme. The top 15 poets were invited to attend a week’s writing course at the Arvon residential centre The Hurst, in Shropshire. There they spent a week with experienced tutors focusing on improving their poetry and establishing a community of writers. Alongside the prize, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award programme includes a range of initiatives to encourage and enable young writers, both in school and independently. Every year, we distribute free teaching resources to every secondary school in the UK, share tips from talented teachers and arrange poet-led workshops in areas of low engagement. In 2019 we introduced a new initiative where students were able to nominate teachers who have helped inspire poetry in the classroom. ‘Nominate Your Teacher’ received 82 nominations from across the


world. The Poetry Society’s education team selected four teachers who stood out from a very impressive list of testimonials from students: Miss Davis from Wycombe Abbey School, Mrs McKenzie from Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Miss Wafa from Twickenham School ,and Mr Armstrong from Hellesdon High School. The 2019 Teacher Trailblazers received school membership for their school, Poetry Society membership for themselves and commissions from The Poetry Society to create teaching resources based on some of the 2019 Foyle winning poems. The teaching resources will also be included in our brand new secondary school poetry resource book, which will be published to coincide with the launch of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020. Our celebration of excellent teaching will support young poets everywhere, so that there is more outstanding poetry to celebrate each year.


Em Power Meritocracy And you, you will be sat there surrounded by crackling, yellowed pages with a wad of fifties stuffed in your mouth. And me, I’ll be sat here all picturesque, swathed in marble carvings and oil paintings older than my childhood home. And I’ll silently seethe, let the blood bubble out of my tear ducts, let the red drip onto my brand new tweed jacket, acknowledge that all my hard work didn’t erase the rosary I bit into as a child, didn’t turn my seablood blue. I’ll pop an antidepressant and lament my own birth, West London, posh voice, no nails, dark alleyways and you? Almost finished your midday snack, thinking about the gold grandfather clocks you’ll melt down for dinner.


Libby Russell A Word of Advice Stop falling in love with people you could write poems about. Stop tripping over and drowning yourself in metaphors And obsessing over similes Like your silly white shirt is clouding your judgement. Resist those with whom you can be Radcliffian, Fall in love with no one in any way Byronic, Or those who may resemble, in any sense, the rose. Do not fall in love with someone who could Drive you down a highway at night and Make it feel like you were flying, dizzy On the vitality and the necessity and the kissing And the kissing and the kissing. Minimise the ways in which your love is Italian, And ensure that it is in no way French. Just be a bit British about the whole thing. Avoid great passion – keep your head. It cannot end in anything Better than a rhyming couplet. Fall in love with someone who is prose at best. Somebody you could write an article about – A conversational, informational blog, Someone fit for the BBC homepage on a Sunday: Sticking to the facts with just a touch of emotion. Perhaps find someone with clammy palms So you won’t mind letting go.


Someone who has kissing down to a fine art, By which I mean, a neatly framed watercolour: Firm pecks – you could call them sobering – Lipless; polite, with just a touch of affection. Don’t get used to kissing in Kadinsky colours – Find someone you can go grey with. Hurdle the white picket fence and tumble Through the window of a semi-detached, Onto the sofa next to the sensible choice – Someone you could take home to your mother – Someone you can sit with, woodenly, With the cat, and a cup of tea, And Songs of Praise providing the soundtrack To your domestic tedium. Calm down. Grow up. Come to terms With the fact that love like that Just isn’t for the likes of you. It belongs to Other People, sealed away Between the pages of an anthology, (Think The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems) Stowed secretly, adulterously, away in a nightstand. Life will be sufficient, and you’ll get along just fine, Because a tree grown in the dark can never miss the sun. Consider settling for someone you could safely live without, But please – stop falling in love with people you could write poems about.


Helen Woods Appointments The first doctor insists that my relationship with food is to my self what a seed is to a fruit, that my eating habits are the moon and all my life’s catastrophes are the tide. The second doctor makes a diagnosis I can’t pronounce. My father tells me I will f**k up my life if I don’t get a grip, which are all strictly medical terms. I want a perfect life that everyone is jealous of. I want all the water I touch to turn into pearls, I want a miserable life that everyone is jealous of. Summer is to me what a stained glass window is to a fist. I should have prefaced this poem with an apology, to my family and to the NHS because there is nothing you can say to a poet and be certain it won’t be set loose again.


Annie Davison Clocks our clocks forgot to go back this year or maybe their hands have become stubborn in old age, so we live an hour ahead now, flowers drooping before their petals fall plates dropping when the guests have not yet arrived when I sit on bridges and watch water sleep walk, the people on boats are laughing backwards my skin feels less real and more like rubber but if I trace myself back to my origins I was paper light once, too


Amy Saunders You’re Not Black I sit with them at lunch Fried chicken on my plate I eat with a knife and fork “You’re not black, if you don’t use your hands to eat” Yet I know that hands tied up the strange fruit on the trees in the south The fruit for the crows to pluck For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop* I don’t recognise the Caribbean music, or the Afrobeats I only know of Liszt, Chopin and Ludovico Einaudi Whose names you’ve probably never heard “You’re not black, if you don’t know this beat” Yet, I am familiar with the beat of pounding Pounding of sugar cane, the whipping of backs The cries and screams of my ancestors Ring loud in my head centuries later So how dare you? How dare you put me down! Question my ethnicity, I’m still a shade of brown And I’m sorry if I don’t live up to your ‘black norms’ But I live in a world with segregated dorms Society crushes me, tells me I’m ugly But copies my features, they must think it’s funny I’m not trying to in any way be mean But I live in a society covered in white sheen Sorry to Bother You, but I should Get Out


’Cause The Hate U Give leaves me with no doubt That I am not The Help, the help that you need But the Hidden Figures are clear to see That I should stop trying to be ‘Black’ and just try to be me

*from ‘Strange Fruit’ by Abel Meeropol


Dana Collins my mother, with eight chemo sessions to go there’s a green chair that sits in my living room. i’m pretty sure that it stands taller and older than me; for years it’s housed the bodies of my family and friends and it still smells like the wet fur of our first dog. i’ve never felt more ashamed than when sitting on the chair as my mother, a woman who stands like a gnarled oak tree, attacked the living room with a feather duster. my mother, five weeks into chemotherapy, carried the vacuum cleaner, scrubbed the floors, wiped away grime from the shelves. my mother, five feet four inches tall, climbed the furniture to swipe at the ceiling. “this is why you have to do it every week,” she told me with laboured breath and sweat pooling on her forehead, gesturing to the clumps of dust under the sofa that resembled her falling-out hair. “because,” she said, “the dog will leave hair everywhere” and it was with a grimace that i realised my mother would soon be like the dog, hair falling from her scalp like dandruff. i made a joke about selling the dog, buying a hairless one, “it would make less of a mess,” i said with an easy smile. but it wasn’t easy. or light. or fine. because i stayed sat in that green chair, while my mother cleaned. my mother, who had spent the week before bed bound, ashamed of her own sickness.


my mother, who threw up quietly into the toilet bowl so she wouldn’t alarm her children. she bumbled around the living room, vacuum following her like a dark cloud. she hauled furniture around the room, picking up all of our mess. i watched her toiling away and did nothing. i saw her breaking her body more than it was already broken for her family and stayed silent. i don’t know why i didn’t offer myself up for her. all i knew was that admitting she needed my help was admitting she was sick. the woman who taught me independence needed me, and i was too scared to give myself away. but what can you do when you see her like that? when your mother buys headscarves to hide the bald patches and expensive hand cream for her cracked skin, it is easier to do nothing. it is easier to pretend life is what it used to be. to pretend you’re still living a life where nobody owns a year-long parking pass to the hospital. just because my mother jokes about the doctors stabbing her with needles, it doesn’t mean i want to hear about it. instead i sat in the green chair, a collection of lumps destined to become an unwanted family heirloom, and i pretended i couldn’t see the exhaustion framing her face like a fringe. i was too scared to help her, and too ashamed to realise. “even when i’m sick,” she told me, “the cleaning still needs to be done.”


Lydia Wei the opioid diaries snooze hit snooze again wake up pull on some dirty clothes run to the bathroom prep a shot cold shower shrapnel digging into flesh later dry hair wringing out dregs of the banal then abyssopelagic ecstasy when i feel like that i often feel what i feel •


70 mg valium 200 mg oxy two angel feathers 60 mg klonopin 90 mg ambien probably keep me together for another day hold me •


O oxy oxy my sphinx i will answer your riddles i will kiss your paws i will lick your sweat like ground diamonds O oxy oxy my lovely chambermaid wash me like linen sheets run me under warm water hang me out in the smiling sun to dry soften me use me up like a bar of soap O oxy oxy

mother dearest let me fall asleep in front of the tv unfinished green beans in my lap i’m not hungry tonight kiss me goodnight? tuck the blankets under my chin O oxy oxy butylated hydroxytoluene hypromellose polyethylene glycol 400 polyethylene oxide magnesium stearate titanium dioxide hydroxypropyl cellulose i love you 17

linoleum floor linoleum floor linoleum floor linole study closely the floor of gas station bathroom where i pulled up prepping a shot

scored some

study closely the floor patterns of how i hurt how i hurt h •

this room filled with soft shadows plush carpets creaky floorboards whispering curtains how many shots i’ve done on this old bed? never enough


Cia Mangat Love Poem to Myself your hair continues to surprise me in its texture after every single wash / like the shock of a photocopier lid realising the other side when it beams white light / I could listen to you listing your banned foods for days / and tell you bad jokes about music as the food of love for even longer / if I pause to consider how long it takes nurses to find your veins / I too blush with warm pride and joy / your ears are unremarkable / and therefore impossible to improve / when I chance upon your face in the curvature of a kettle I am overcome by the urge to blow you kisses / as if we are both tethered to the ground / but neither of us want to take off


Jean Klurfeld Zeyde enys My grandfather sat at the foot of my bed At six years old, my tongue bumbled over my anglicized versions of the Yiddish that he tried to teach me He was six when he learned his second tongue and I can barely see the first now I fell asleep to it tsvey My grandmother sits in her chair, in her memories and in solidarities Her entire family died in the Holocaust, she said, but they would have been so proud of you I was eight then, and I turned on the television because why should her memories become mine The rest was drowned out dray My grandfather, the doctor, the American, answered our childish questions with patented Jewish humor Do you have a middle name? My sister and I (eleven) asked No, he said, we were too poor Why didn’t we understand why didn’t we see it fir At Passover dusty labeled bottles lined the bending shelves around Seder, filled with silent and ancient prayer At twelve, I learned that glass was what remained of the Kristallnacht when the family pharmacy was smashed in How do you pronounce Kristallnacht? finif My grandfather had donated his body to science, true to himself even in death 20

We stood in the living room, sitting Shiva One of his friends stood up Bob was a mensch, he said A mensch is someone who is grumpy, and a curmudgeon, but he’s the best guy you’ll ever know. You can’t quite place it, but he’s one of the best friends you’ll ever have Mensch, was it Menshh zeks He’s gone and I am fourteen and I have memorized the Hanukkah prayer I say it with my grandmother for all eight nights zibn I am fifteen now and I am moving from America to London and I have to go through hours of footage from silver, dusty labeled tapes I press play and there is my grandfather, teaching me how to spread cream cheese on a bagel when I was four I cried and cried and cried because that is all I have of his teaching now And I see now that after his death was the only time that I appreciated what he was during his life. akht I am sixteen and I finally talk to my grandmother about the Holocaust and her family and what I am We go to the Synagogue, seemingly for the first time Sitting in the car with her, I ask to put on the Barry Sisters when I had asked to turn it off years before Can you hear the clarinet in Rhapsody in Blue? That is Klezmer, that is in your blood, that joy is where you come from nayn When I am twenty, if my grandmother bubbe is still here


Have I listened to her words and said them like I should and like he deserves? Will I have taken the time and respect to my own blood to carry the star that pained me? Will I have learned? tsen As my grandfather passed on his language to lifeless air as I fell asleep in front of him How would I have known that out of all the phrases, his real name, it is reduced to almost nothing Only the numbers remain Eyns Tsvey Dray Fir Finif Zeks Zibn Akht Nayn Tsen How could I have known that The decade I didn’t speak cost me a tongue.


Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith I want to stand naked in the school hall on the podium, mid assembly, so my presence will be so overbearing no one can look away. I want their eyes to burn into my skin, examine its ripples and folds and the scar that digs it up like a trench in Ypres. I’d watch a few hundred jaws slowly unhinge, drop down into a mass of Os, all directed at my body, lopsided like the projector, its fluorescent beams bouncing on my raw flesh, so each goosebump would have its own time in the spotlight. I want to raise my arms, outstretch my fingertips, so everyone can see my hairy armpits and wonky tits, my nipples erect with the cold of a hundred stark looks, so they’d know, so they’d see, I’m not perfect and in no way do I want to be. Then, when I’ve got their attention, I want to read them a poem through the head teacher’s microphone, full blast so that each naked syllable in each naked word, spat from my naked throat, near bursts their eardrums. Before they stand, frozen and agape, and file out.


Nadia Lines Explaining Memes to Keats So you see, I say slowly, It’s a little engine of remembering, recalling, reverberating in the mind, like rhyme. So, it can never die? he replies. I avert my eyes. It will, with time.


Suzanne Antelme what are we before we are mothers woman wants to loop herself like a spool of thread into the cupped arms of a mug woman wants to use up all her thoughts considering the brown heart of coffee woman wants a man with a beard and a dog to lift a mug to his winded lips and swallow her chapped laughter woman wants to sew a man together with twine from the bowl of her stomach woman wants a man to hollow her out and line her chest with eggshell shoes and yellow milk woman wants to not want this.


Thomas Frost The Drowning of Li Po And Li Po also died drunk. He tried to embrace a moon In the Yellow River. – Ezra Pound, ‘Epitaphs’ the river is drunk; reeling, it tosses the sad poet’s prow to the white moon which bathes gently in the dark water of heaven. the moon, enraged by this sot’s trespass, casts his prow down again to the dark water where its white image sways whore-like, grinning. the poet, likewise grinning, leaps forth into the dark water and cries, choking, his hallelujah.


Trinity Robinson Phlegethon When she’s sat in the dark I light myself like a candle Burn away the shadows ’Til she’s sitting in the sunshine The only problem with candles Is that in order to glow They must burn themselves away But when she’s sat in the dark I swear, It takes everything in me Not to set the world alight Just to see her smile


Talulah Quinto Maple They named me after a sweet tree As if to hide my spirit They named me after a gentle tree As if to hide my strength They named me after a small tree As if I would not grow They named me after an old tree As if I was not young They named me after a living tree And I will forever live They named me after a sleeping tree And I will never sleep The name they chose is perfect It holds me young and old Sweet and able Gentle and bold That tree is Maple.


Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2019

Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2019 The winners: Amy Saunders • Annie Davison • Cia Mangat • Dana Collins • Em Power • Helen Woods • Jean Klurfeld • Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith • Libby Russell • Lydia Wei • Nadia Lines • Suzanne Antelme • Talulah Quinto • Thomas Frost • Trinity Robinson The commended poets: Abhilipsa Sahoo • Adriana Aida Che Ismail • Ahana Banerji • Aimee Hartley • Ali Nyirenda • Amelia Clark • Amélie Nixon • Anjali Mulcock • Anna Gilmore Heezen • Anne Kwok • Anya Trofimova • Ari Vishin • Arna Kar • Aziza Adam • Callum Roberts • Charlotte Mills • Corina Robinson • Cosima Deetman • Daisy Winstone • Daniel Chen • Duy Quang Mai • Elise Withey • Elizabeth Thatcher • Ella Saville • Ella Stanton • Emilia Brooks • Emma Miao • Eryn Lee • Esin Aynal • Esther Kim • Eve Connor • Eve Lawson • Eve Warden • Evelyn Byrne • Hannah George • Heather Hughes • Ifeoluwa Olatona • Isabella Cho • Isabelle English • Ishika Jha • Jacob Heagney • Jacob Keneson • Jayla Blaba • Jessica Lawrence • Jimin Lee • Joshua Wood • Kai Jardine • Kate Moore • Katie Kirkpatrick • Khushi Daryani • Kitty Robinson • Lucy Gardner • Lucy Stone • Martha Iris Blue • Meena Rakasi • Meredith LeMaître • Mia Cassidy • Nabeha Dhar • Nancy Gittus • Neha Agrawal • Nizara Ziaudeen • Olivia Petris • Pacey Holloway • Ploy Techawatanasuk • Plum Hector-Taylor • Poppy Wallhead • Rain Wang • Reda Ziani • Rian Paton • Rowan Jessop • Sam Carrick • Samyukta Iyer • Sandra Chen • Santiago McDonnell Grundy • Sarah Nachimson • Sarah Nazir • Sarah Yang • Shaw Worth • Sinéad O’Reilly • Sophie Thynne • Sophie White • Thariny Suresh • William An • Xinyue Jenny Jiang • Zannamarie Ashton

Read the winning and commended poems online The online anthologies of winning and commended Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2019 are available at


The Poetry Society The Poetry Society is the leading poetry organisation in the UK. For over 100 years we’ve been a lively and passionate source of energy and ideas, opening up and promoting poetry to an ever-growing community of people. We run acclaimed international poetry competitions for adults and young people and publish The Poetry Review, one of the most influential poetry magazines in the English-speaking world. With innovative education and commissioning programmes, and a packed calendar of performances and readings, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages. The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is at the core of The Poetry Society’s extensive education programme, and it plays an influential role in shaping contemporary British poetry. During 2019, former winner Jay Bernard’s debut collection Surge (Chatto & Windus) was shortlisted for a Forward Prize for Best First Collection, a Costa Book Award (co-judged by fellow Foyle Young Poet Jade Cuttle) and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Amongst former commended and winning poets, Eloise Unerman became the Barnsley Poet Laureate, following former Foyle judge Ian McMillan; Mathilda Armiger won first prize in the University of Hertfordshire poetry prize (an adult prize) at the age of 18; and Mukahang Limbu won both the Page category in the 2019 Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry and the overall competition.

Help young writers thrive The Poetry Society’s work with young people and schools across the UK changes the lives of readers, writers and performers of poetry, developing confidence and literacy skills, encouraging self-expression and opening up new life opportunities. Support us by donating at


The Foyle Foundation The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the Arts and Learning. The Foyle Foundation has invested in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award since 2001, one of its longest partnerships. During this time it has trebled its support and enabled the competition to develop and grow to become one of the premier literary awards in the country.

Young writers and The Poetry Society As well as the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, The Poetry Society offers lots of other opportunities for young poets interested in writing for the page or exploring spoken word: Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25. It’s for everyone interested in poets and poetry – whether you’ve just started out, or you’re a seasoned poetry reader and writer. You’ll find features, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, as well as new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. We partner with amazing organisations, from the National Maritime Museum and the V&A, to the British Library and Oxfam, sparking ideas that travel far beyond the page. For updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @youngpoetsnet Poetry Society Youth Membership is for aspiring writers and poetry enthusiasts aged 11-18. Members receive poetry goodies, discounts towards opportunities for feedback, The Poetry Society’s newspaper Poetry News, and other benefits.


Schools and The Poetry Society Foyle Award teaching resources, including lesson plans and online versions of the winning and commended Foyle Young Poets anthologies, are available on our website at Poetryclass lesson plans and activities, covering all Key Stages and exploring many themes and forms of poetry, are easy to search and free to download. Each resource has been created by our team of poeteducators and teachers, with hands-on experience of developing an enthusiasm for poetry in the classroom. Find Poetryclass on our dedicated site: Page Fright is an online resource, bringing historical poetry to life with contemporary spoken word performances. Page Fright poets such as Benjamin Zephaniah perform their own work, and explore historical poems afresh. Resources and writing prompts help you create your own poetry. Poets in Schools help develop an understanding of and enthusiasm for poetry across all Key Stages. Whether you want a one-off workshop or a long-term residency, an INSET session for staff or a poet-led assembly, The Poetry Society can find the right poet for you. School Membership connects your school with all that poetry has to offer. School members receive books, resources, posters, Poetry News and The Poetry Review (secondary only), as well as free access to our Poets in Schools service. Follow us on Twitter @PoetryEducation or sign up to our schools e-bulletin by emailing 33

In Spring 2020, The Poetry Society will publish its new compendium of resources for secondary school teachers – Poetry Class – to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition. The resource includes contributions from a diverse group of poets including Sinéad Morrissey, Caleb Parkin, Hannah Lowe, Caroline Bird, Kate Clanchy, Jasmine Simms, Joelle Taylor, Daljit Nagra and Malika Booker as well as pieces from Foyle Young Poets and teachers. The judges of the 2020 competition – Maura Dooley and Keith Jarrett – are also among the contributors. Poetry Class presents lively articles to inspire the teaching of poetry, quick practical ideas to complement teaching in different settings – the classroom, assembly, after-school – and extended lesson plans. All the contributors have responded to issues that most concern young people, such as national and personal identity, mental health, climate change and education itself. Teachers will find a range of ideas to share poetry and creative writing in ways that relates directly to their students. Our Poetry Class resource book for secondary schools is FREE. Email to find out how to get your copy.


L to r: Daljit Nagra (photo: Sara Lee); Caroline Bird (photo: Hannah Edy); Malika Booker (photo: Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society); Kate Clanchy; Caleb Parkin (photo: Paul Samuel White).

Poetry Class – inspiring young writers in secondary schools: a reader for teachers

Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020 Judges: Maura Dooley and Keith Jarrett Enter your poems – change your life! The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020 is open to any writer aged 11 to 17 (inclusive) until the closing date of 31 July 2020. The competition is completely free to enter and poems can be on any theme or subject. Individuals can enter more than one poem, but please concentrate on drafting and redrafting your poems – quality is more important than quantity! Entries cannot be returned so please keep copies. Prizes include poetry goodies, mentoring, places on a week-long residential writing course at an Arvon Centre, publication in a prestigious anthology, and much more. Winners also benefit from ongoing support and encouragement from The Poetry Society via publication, performance and internship opportunities. How to enter: please read the updated competition rules, published in full at You can send us your poems online through our website, or by post. If you are aged 11-12 you will need permission from a parent or guardian to enter. For more information, visit the rules section at School entries: teachers can enter sets of poems by post or online using our simple submission form. Every school that enters 25 students or more will receive a £50 discount on our Poets in Schools service! Want a FREE set of anthologies, resources and posters for your class? Email your name, address and request to For full rules and instructions, visit


Access and the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020 This anthology and our entry forms are available in a range of accessible formats. If you require this anthology, or any information about the competition, in an alternative format, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Do you have an inspiring teacher? Tell us about them We want to connect with brilliant teachers who care as much about poetry as we do, so we can continue to reach young poets like you. If your teacher inspired you to write or read poetry, and you think we should know about them, let us know by emailing the following to We’d like to know your teacher’s name and the name of your school, with a sentence or two about what inspires you about your teacher. Every nomination we receive will be entered into our free draw to win £50 of poetry books and posters.


Now YOU can be part of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Send us your poems by 31 July 2020 and next year YOUR work could be read by thousands of people all over the world in an anthology like this one. Enter online for free at Remember, you must be aged 11-17 years old on the closing date of 31 July 2020. Good luck – we can’t wait to read your poems!

“There are no borders or boundaries to cross in the world of poetry and no one need carry a passport to get in.” – Raymond Antrobus & Jackie Kay, Judges, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.