The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is one of the biggest and most established prizes for young people aged 11 – 17 in the world. If you’re an aspiring writer, enter your poems to the competition at foyleyoungpoets.org by 31 July 2023.
This year’s Award will be judged by award-winning poets Jonathan Edwards and Jane Yeh.
Jane, who is also a Creative Writing lecturer and a writer on books, theatre and fashion, is looking forward to reading your poems. She says:
‘I’m excited by poems that do something different, that dare to be surprising in some way. It might be an unexpected image or an unusual ‘take’ on a subject, or writing about stuff you don’t often find in a poem, like washing powder or temporary tattoos. I enjoy things that are weird, but I also enjoy seeing something ordinary transformed by a writer’s vision of it. It’s simple and free to submit your poems, so why not give it a go? Gaining recognition for your work is an amazing feeling!’
Jonathan, who teaches English as well as being a poet, can’t wait to read your poems either. He adds:
‘I’m hoping to enjoy four different things in the poems which are submitted. First, I really love poems where it’s clear that the subject matter is really important to the writer and is therefore made important to us: poems which passionately care about people, about animals, or which passionately want to change some aspect of the world. Second, I love poems of the imagination, poems which realise some unique vision, where the poet is enjoying some extraordinary invention that their mind has created, and allowing us to look at the world in a magic new way. Thirdly, I love poems with language and form that roars and zings, poems which sound great out loud, where the movement through the words is exhilarating. And lastly, I love poems that do none of the above, tick none of the boxes, are only themselves, which burst into a room, shouting ‘Hey, look at me!’ and are so beautiful that everyone turns. This amazing competition is a great chance to launch poetic careers and, more than that, to experience the incomparable joy of creativity.’
Last year, we received more than 13,500 poems from more than 6,600 poets aged 11-17. Young writers from 100 countries entered the competition from as far afield as Afghanistan, Nigeria, New Zealand and Qatar, as well as the four corners of the UK. You can read the work of the Top 15 winning poets in our new anthology, Lullabies of Distant Traffic, below. Please note: pages 16 and 17 feature two poems which contain graphic imagery and mentions of EDs. Poetry can sometimes be a space to explore powerful feelings, and we thank all 2022’s poets for their fearlessness, the energy of their imagination and the strength of their words. Thousands of print copies of the anthology are currently on their way to schools, libraries and poetry lovers across the UK and the world – contact us if you’d like one for yourself or your class.
Do you dream of starring in next year’s anthology? Enter the 2023 award and as well as publication you could receive: mentoring and other opportunities from The Poetry Society, extended engagement with the poetry community through complimentary Youth Membership of The Poetry Society; quarterly copies of Poetry News; and lots of prizes such as poetry books and other goodies.