The Poetry Society’s platform for young poetry-lovers, Young Poets Network, and charity People Need Nature have teamed up for the second year running to challenge young writers to explore their relationship with nature.
The free-to-enter challenge received over 100 impressive entries from poets aged 8 to 25 from countries as far afield as Canada, New Zealand and India.
T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Jen Hadfield wrote and judged the challenge for the second year in a row, asking young poets to re-examine the names we give to our landscapes: “What happens when we give names to places, plants, and creatures? Do names make it easier or harder to know exactly where we are? What histories do names smuggle into the present day?”
Jen said, “Writing and judging this second challenge for Young Poets Network and People Need Nature has been such fun and feels very meaningful. There’s a lovely variety within the winners. I looked for poems that explored the idea of naming or powerfully evoked a place (urban and/or wild); I also rewarded originality of voice and idiom, clarity, naturalness and experimentation. Well done to everyone!”
First prize: ‘Dandelion’ by Amelia Doherty
Second prize: ‘The Adolescent Adventures of the Bold Brunettes’ by Katie Kirkpatrick
Third prize: ‘Canadian bear’ by Xanthe McElroy
Runners-up: Abby Meyer, Matilda Houston-Brown, Francesca Weekes, Ella Standage, Weina Jin
Highly commended: Luca Demetriadi, Olivia Todd, Sarahana Chemjong, Annika Cleland-Hura, Jennie Howitt, Emma Reilly
Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society, said, “We love working with People Need Nature, helping to germinate a new generation of nature poets. From the sun rays of dandelion heads to feather boa reed beds, the writers of Young Poets Network have done us proud, with their close observations and playful mapping of the nature on their own doorsteps. These poems help reconnect us with a sense of wonderment in our natural surroundings, and maybe a little extra determination to get outdoors.”
Miles King, founder of People Need Nature, said, “People Need Nature was created to highlight things like how important nature is a source of inspiration for writers and artists – the People Need Nature/Young Poets Network poetry competition is a great example of that and we’re delighted to work with The Poetry Society again. It’s obvious that young people care greatly about nature and what could be better than to express that care and love through poetry.”