Winners and runners up of the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards
PUBLISHED: 11:10 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:10 04 April 2017
Poets and writers from across three counties came together to take part in the sixth annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards.
The awards gives writers the chance to compose poems on the theme of ‘The Fens’ and compete for the title of Fenland Poet Laureate.
Younger poets (aged between 10 and 17) can also enter to compete for the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize.
The competition received over one hundred and ten entries this year, and the judges were overwhelmed by the really high quality of all the poems that were submitted.
All entries were judged anonymously and the top eight finalists in each category were invited to read their poetry at the awards ceremony, which took place at March Town Hall.
This year, the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize was awarded to Sophie Lutkin, of Whittlesey, for her poem ‘In Situ’.
The judges admired the way Sophie’s poem, which was about the archaeological finds at Much Farm in Whittlesey, showed the history of the fens in its soil”.
Second place was awarded to Oliver Williams, of Wisbech Grammar School, for his poem ‘My Fenland Journey’, and Georgina Melia, of Little Thetford, took third place with her piece entitled ‘Homeland Glory’.
There were also five highly commended poets in this category: Ivy Birmingham, Thomas Fox, Thomas Kane, Tia MacNab and Phoebe Oram.
Sophie said “The atmosphere [at the ceremony] was great and it was so lovely to hear other poets performing their work and getting recognition for it. I’ve had many congratulations from friends and family and my English teacher is very proud!”
The winner of the adult category was Kate Caoimhe Arthur, of Cottenham, with her poem ‘Tree’.
The judges chose Kate’s poem as their favourite because of its original perspective.
She said: “Where most poems celebrated the wide openness of the fens landscape, this poem engaged with the negative implications of not being able to hide within it.
“It investigated the psychological impacts of the landscape, and in the final stanza drew this dirt and darkness into a domestic setting.”
Liz Davies, of Fenstanton, took second place for her poem ‘A Wet Summer on the Fens’, and third prize was awarded to Jacqueline Ogden, of Burwell, for her poem ‘Waterways’.
The five highly commended poets were Tony Bowland, Beth Hartley, Rosemary Jones, Dominic O’Sullivan, and Sue Welfare.
The sixth annual Fenland Poet Laureate awards were supported by 20 Twenty Productions, Babylon Arts and Market Place.
For more information on the winners, photos of the awards ceremony, and all the gossip, check out www.fenlandpoetry.co.uk
THE WINNING POEMS
He traced the curves of his lover’s body;
smoothed the wrinkles, dips and folds of skin. He
held her in his hands - she was young, fragile.
A taupe tapestry. She was a small pot soon burnt
a rich copper, flames which tore like hands the
pages of her flesh. Her lover preserved
her in centuries of silt, buried her
with ember and jet from foreign lands; beads
for her eyes. He dressed her in plant fibres
intricately charred and waterlogged, spun
from the fusion of bone and bronze. Her legs
collapsed like timber under her, stilts which
fell like spoons against bowls. They found her years
later, a sleeping artefact. They traced
the curves of her worn body, smoothed the wrinkles,
dips and folds of skin. They held her in their
hands - she was old, but not fragile. A Bronze
Age discovery, resurfaced in situ.
Sophie Lutkin (Young Fenland Poet Laureate 2017)
Running is never enough
I am listening for the sound
of the ground saying Here
or perhaps a bird flight
arching above it or light pool
from a shaft of sun
Home. Where can I plant us.
Follow the lockspit
To the elbow of the fen
Looking for a clearing
Or a piece of scrub
Where I can dig a hole,
a burrow, damp with dew
An oak tree, wrecked by wind
I found it, and a red fox
Why must I be an animal
To hide in this place
In our bed, these nights
I dig into you with
Fingers, tongue, nails.
Kate Caoimhe Arthur (Fenland Poet Laureate 2017)