Latymerian’s poem wins recognition from Christopher Tower Poetry Competition Judges

A poem by Year 12 student, Grace, was selected by the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition judges as one of the top thirteen poems in this year’s competition. 

“Before I entered the competition, I didn’t write poetry very often. For me, the most difficult part was getting started; to write a poem, you need to control structure and language carefully, but I often struggle to be succinct. But the competition had a fixed theme (‘The Planets’) and a deadline, which were both useful because they gave a sense of direction and urgency. The after-school workshops that Mrs. Dalton-West and Mrs. Smith ran were amazing. Even though it’s scary to read your own poetry out loud, it’s fun to speak to your friends and teachers about poetry. I worried I might not have anything interesting to say about the planets themselves because I don’t know much about astronomy, so I wrote about how people experience the planets, the stars and the moon. Interestingly, a couple of weeks before I wrote the poem, the comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) (the ‘green comet’) had become visible to the naked eye, so I was thinking about celestial bodies at the time. I thought about the theme for a while, then I wrote and edited the poem quite quickly because I was avoiding some homework.,” said Grace.

Grace was invited to Christ Church College, Oxford, to attend the celebration and prize giving.  “The awards ceremony was lovely. I got to meet the judges, who were incredibly supportive — receiving advice and encouragement from successful poets was very reassuring. I also loved meeting the other winners. I think we were all similar because most of us were Lower Sixth students thinking of applying for English or an allied subject. I really love talking to people about literature, and I think it can be even more fun when you’re talking to the writer of the poem being discussed. We all signed each other’s poetry anthologies!”  said Grace.

“Overall, I would encourage anybody thinking of entering the competition next year, or any similar competition, to go for it!” she continued.

 

The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition has been running for over two decades, and in that time has rewarded over 120 young winners and their poems. It is judged anonymously by two guest judges, who are different each year, and the Christopher Tower Student. It is a highly prestigious competition, offering the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets. Each year the theme is chosen with the intention of giving entrants free rein to interpret it as widely as they like.

The English Department is enormously proud of Grace’s achievement. She has become a real champion of our subject during the Lower Sixth year, what with her excellent performance in the English Literature A Level, becoming a stalwart of the English Extension and Senior Book Club sessions, and even delivering a presentation on Milton’s verse at the student-run Poetry Society. It was a natural extension of her passion for poetry, then, for her to submit her own creative writing to the prestigious Tower Hill Poetry prize, which is run by Christ Church, Oxford and judged by an esteemed academic and two award-winning poets. Out of the 1,700+ submissions, Grace’s poem ‘Three Children’ was ‘Highly Commended’ as one of the top thirteen entries; a ruminative, tightly crafted and atmospheric piece, the poem demonstrates a level of writerly control which her belies age. As both her teacher and tutor, I was enormously proud to accompany Grace and her parents at Oxford and applaud her success in person. Credit should also go to Mrs Dalton-West and Mrs. Smith, who ran a series of after-school workshops to all Latymerians who entered the competition, something which really helped to refine all students’ poetic style,” said Mr. Palmer, Latymer English teacher. 

carolineroberts
Author: carolineroberts

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