Poets and writers from across three countries came together on Friday 31st March to take part in the sixth annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards!
This local initiative gives writers the chance to compose poems on the theme of ‘The Fens’ and compete for the title of Fenland Poet Laureate, while younger poets (aged between 10 and 17) can also enter to compete for the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize.
The competition received over 110 entries this year, and the judges were overwhelmed by the incredibly 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 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”. They were drawn in by the “comparison of a person to archaeological artefacts such as pots, pages, and tapestry” and felt the poem contained “exciting language without being showy, and impressive control of line and tone”.
Second place was awarded to Oliver Williams for his poem ‘My Fenland Journey’, and Georgina Melia 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.
The winner of the adult category was Kate Caoimhe Arthur with her poem ‘Tree’. The judges chose Kate’s poem as their favourite because of its original perspective. “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 took second place for her poem ‘A Wet Summer on the Fens’, and third prize was awarded to Jacqueline Ogden for her poem ‘Waterways’.
The five highly commended poets were Tony Bowland, Beth Hartley, Rosemary Jones, Dominic O'Sullivan, and Sue Welfare. Congratulations to Sophie and to Kate, and to all the other finalists who shared their poetry with us this year!
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 our facebook page or follow us on twitter.