Charlotte Beck, 13, and CJ Atkinson crowned, respectively, 2019-2020 Young Fenland Poet Laureate and 2019-2020 Fenland Poet Laureate

02 December, 2019 - 11:34
Fenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Young Poet Laureate Charlotte Beck with her trophy. Picture; IAN CARTER

Fenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Young Poet Laureate Charlotte Beck with her trophy. Picture; IAN CARTER

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Charlotte Beck, 13, from Wisbech Grammar School was crowned Young Fenland Poet Laureate for the year 2019-2020 and CJ Atkinson from March was awarded Fenland Poet Laureate in the adult category.

Fenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Picture; IAN CARTER Fenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Picture; IAN CARTER

The Fenland Poet Laureate Awards took place on Friday at the Rose & Crown Hotel, Wisbech to great fanfare

Regarding the children's category, the adjudicators Wendy Cope, OBE and Lachlan Mackinnon remarked on the "imaginative and linguistically sensitive English teaching [that] goes on in our region".

They added that in the adult category, "the best poems showed considerable observation and, in many cases, a strong sense of the historical background to the landscapes they described".

Besides the overall winners, Lorna Sugden, Diane Calton-Smith, Jasmin Gaborit-Carter, Nathanael Wilson and Kim Allen were all highly commended. They, along with the Laureates, will spend the next year giving readings and workshops around the community.

Fenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Picture; IAN CARTERFenland Poet Laureate 2019-2020: Winners announced at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Wisbech, with Steve Barclay, Metro mayor James Palmer and Wisbech town mayor Michael Hill among the guests. Picture; IAN CARTER

The event was hosted by organiser Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, with Steve Barclay opening and closing proceedings.

Combined authority mayor James Palmer and Wisbech mayor Michael Hill were also in attendance.

The Fenland Poet Laureate Awards was relaunched after the previous committee, based out of Ely, stepped down in 2017.

Murrow-based Elisabeth Sennitt Clough relaunched and rebranded the event, locating it within the administrative district of Fenland, where previously it was open to poets who lived in 'The Fens,' a much wider and less-defined geographical area.

The finalists in this year’s Fenland Poet Laureate Awards have been revealed ahead of the final held at the Rose and Crown Hotel in Wisbech on Friday, November 29. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsThe finalists in this year’s Fenland Poet Laureate Awards have been revealed ahead of the final held at the Rose and Crown Hotel in Wisbech on Friday, November 29. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

Elisabeth successfully applied for funding from Arts Council England and received a 12,000 grant.

Marketplace: Creative People and Places backed the application by offering support in kind. The large number of entries in both categories and the interest from the wider community will hopefully continue to build year upon year.

The prizewinners each received a copy of the inaugural Fenland Poetry Journal with their poems published inside and, of course, a trophy.

Charlotte Beck is 13-years-old and currently attends Wisbech Grammar School. She lives in Upper Marham with her mum, dad, and younger brother. She has two pets and in the future aspires to be a vet. Away from school and her academic studies, she enjoys lots of sports and is especially keen on Tae-kwon Do, hockey, cricket and netball. She has recently been selected for the U15 Cambridgeshire County Cricket Squad. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsCharlotte Beck is 13-years-old and currently attends Wisbech Grammar School. She lives in Upper Marham with her mum, dad, and younger brother. She has two pets and in the future aspires to be a vet. Away from school and her academic studies, she enjoys lots of sports and is especially keen on Tae-kwon Do, hockey, cricket and netball. She has recently been selected for the U15 Cambridgeshire County Cricket Squad. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

CHARLOTTE BECK

Charlotte Beck is 13-years-old and currently attends Wisbech Grammar School. She lives in Upper Marham with her mum, dad, and younger brother.

Originally from Cornwall, CJ Atkinson now lives in March and finds the Fen landscape hugely inspiring. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsOriginally from Cornwall, CJ Atkinson now lives in March and finds the Fen landscape hugely inspiring. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

She has two pets and in the future aspires to be a vet.

Away from school and her academic studies, she enjoys lots of sports and is especially keen on Tae-kwon Do, hockey, cricket and netball.

She has recently been selected for the U15 Cambridgeshire County Cricket Squad.

Diane Calton Smith has lived in Wisbech for over thirty years and has always been fascinated by the Fens. Having written local history books and Fenland mystery stories, she is beginning to enjoy writing poetry too. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsDiane Calton Smith has lived in Wisbech for over thirty years and has always been fascinated by the Fens. Having written local history books and Fenland mystery stories, she is beginning to enjoy writing poetry too. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

Fenland Fog

Whirling in from The Wash, I cover the patchwork land

A cathedral breaks my assault, as I engulf the tundra below

But, who can break me?

Jasmin Gaborit-Carter is from Wisbech and a student at Wisbech Grammar School, aged 8. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsJasmin Gaborit-Carter is from Wisbech and a student at Wisbech Grammar School, aged 8. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

Lone runners are cautious in my presence

Even the fearsome tractors cannot escape from my grasp

In days of old, men of Hereward knew me well, they used me in their quest for victory

I have seen armies come and go

Lorna Sugden is a bridal accessories maker, and writer. She is currently studying for a degree in creative writing. She has lived in March her entire life. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsLorna Sugden is a bridal accessories maker, and writer. She is currently studying for a degree in creative writing. She has lived in March her entire life. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

Once on the ground, now they take to the skies

Aviation fuel trails are left, choking my breath

Tickled by their wings, I laugh as the early morning owls rise me from my slumber

They are hungry, and dive for their prey, but I remain unsatisfied

Dr Kim Allen writes poetry in the interludes between being a NHS consultant psychiatrist and shepherding her flock of rare breed Jacob sheep. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsDr Kim Allen writes poetry in the interludes between being a NHS consultant psychiatrist and shepherding her flock of rare breed Jacob sheep. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

I chase the Ouse for something to drink, but it outruns me, leaving me in its wake

As the temperature rises, I roll away, revealing endless skies of purple and grey

But, for now, all I can do is watch this unique landscape

I'm Fenland's mystery shield

Nathanael Wilson has just turned nine years of age but has always demonstrated a love of all things creative, in literature, art, cooking and music. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate AwardsNathanael Wilson has just turned nine years of age but has always demonstrated a love of all things creative, in literature, art, cooking and music. Picture: Supplied/ Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

CJ ATKINSON

Originally from Cornwall, CJ Atkinson now lives in March and finds the Fen landscape hugely inspiring.

Fen Blow

Feel the Fen Blow bey,

It rattles the bones

Through graves long forgotten,

In churchyards of stone.

The lazy old Easterly

Howls like a dog

Then covers the dykes

In a blanket of fog.

It reddens the hands,

Travelled from foreign parts

Who harvest the land,

Picking artichoke hearts.

Gets up the tails

Of the long-legged hares

That run for their lives

From the Gamekeeper's glares.

Swirls around the bench

And kisses the face

Of dear Molly Watkins,

At peace in her place.

Brucks up the fruit trays

Stacked high in the markets.

Makes pots goo a gutzer,

Snaps flowers in baskets.

Snatches the bread

From men eating dockey

Whilst sat on memorials,

Saddened with poppies.

The sky's blue as woad dye,

So stretch out your hand

And feel the Fen Blow, bey,

For this is Fen land.

DIANE CALTON SMITH

Diane Calton Smith has lived in Wisbech for over thirty years and has always been fascinated by the Fens.

Having written local history books and Fenland mystery stories, she is beginning to enjoy writing poetry too.

Lament For a Lost Fenland Field

A47 cars move unheeding by;

There is no corn, no wheat crop,

Just dock and scorched brown thistle now

To catch their wandering eye.

Planning permission no longer in doubt,

The farmer turns away

From where the golden corn once thrived

Despite the summer drought.

And now we wait while weeds grow tall

And pheasants strut and rabbits hop,

Yet better this, far better this

Than when the diggers call.

For they'll break the earth with steely claw

Then curb and road sketch out new lines

On this once living field,

Where game birds flee, to land no more.

Then houses come and wildlife yields,

Moved on to who knows where?

Human voices drown out all else

On this once living Fenland field.

JASMIN GABORIT-CARTER

Jasmin Gaborit-Carter is from Wisbech and a student at Wisbech Grammar School, aged 8.

Grey skies and white clouds

Birds with smooth fluffy feathers

Stars high in the sky

LORNA SUGDEN

Lorna Sugden is a bridal accessories maker, and writer. She is currently studying for a degree in creative writing. She has lived in March her entire life.

A Fertile Voice

What to make of this vast, flat land

Drained of features, windswept, waiting.

At dawn pre-autumn mists whisper,

Rising from fields as songs once heard,

From a land with a forgotten voice.

Standing by newly formed straw henges,

A golden carpet marches to meet

Silent black soil, touching the endless sky.

A view that sprawls for miles without rest,

Flattened by the Dutch, abandoned by eels,

That silenced, slithered back to source.

A fertile stage which birthed a warrior queen,

Her bloody reign reduced to folklore half remembered,

Half followed as natural law, by webbed feet.

As we stand in the wake of noble resistance,

Tigers growl from distant cloudscapes,

Heightened by the call of Kites and Buzzards.

The voice of the fen echoes in retold stories,

Remembered when sunset lights burial fires

Dancing skyward; winged will-o-the-wisps.

Mourning lost voices, the sky speaks loud,

Building stature in fantasy landscapes, painted in

Cirrus blue, azure, indigo, in infinite air.

This recumbent land yields a fertile voice

A choir, calling from every swish of reed,

A natural orchestra filling the heavenly music hall.

What to make of this vast, flat land

Of ancestral whispers, waiting to be heard.

KIM ALLEN

Dr Kim Allen writes poetry in the interludes between being a NHS consultant psychiatrist and shepherding her flock of rare breed Jacob sheep.

Powte's Complaint 2019

Four hundred years and eight since our last complaint.

We lost that fight, for us a sorry plight

The fens were drained

The water tamed.

In its place acres of pasture and wheat

Cabbage, potato, apples and beet.

Fields of daffodils, tulips and sweet scented roses for posies.

But once again we, the brethren of the water assemble.

Once more we quake and tremble.

This time we plead you heed

Our warning.

If not there will dawn a morning

When it's too late to avoid your fate.

There will come a day when the ice has melted, the seas will rise

And you will watch the land retreat with each rising tide.

Let distant forests burn and we will return

The water will flow over ditches and dykes

No more roads for cars and bikes.

But open water to row in boats or bog and marsh to walk in waders.

Your choice to act or not, don't seek to blame us

Just four score years and one

A single life and your time will be done

Ignore our message and your land will be lost, no hope of salvage

We will return to the fen

Our watery world once again.

NATHANAEL WILSON

Nathanael Wilson has just turned nine years of age but has always demonstrated a love of all things creative, in literature, art, cooking and music.

Reading is his main passion and he is enjoying developing his own stories and poems.

Dragon over the Fens

Fiery Flier flying over the Fens

Patchwork of fields; rape, barley, wheat, corn

Swallows swooping, sparrows singing

Blackbird in the garden

All small as a matchbox

In the eye of this great beast

Soaring through the sunset on shimmering wings

Apricot, auburn, peach and pink

Darts forward

Catches his prey, quick as a wink

There's another hunter out tonight

Dodge left, right

By the rushing river

Perching in the reeds

As perfect in the air

As the graceful swan who glides by

Dragonfly.

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