Voting is over in Write Out Loud's Beyond the Storm poetry competition. The winners will be announced soon!
Voting is over in the People’s Choice section of Write Out Loud’s Beyond the Storm poetry competition in aid of NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. In a few hours’ time the People’s Choice winner will be announced, along with the overall competition winners – first, second, third and three highly commended - chosen by competition judge Andrew McMillan. In his judge’s comments Andrew, who generously waived his competition fee, said: “This isn’t a new thought, and certainly I’ve said it plenty of times over the last few weeks and months, but the poetry that comes out of these times will be studied in the years and decades to come, a historical record of what we collectively and individually lived through. Just as we go to first-person accounts of other historical epochs, so too schoolchildren, finally allowed back into full classrooms, students streaming back into lecture theatres, scholars quietly sitting back in the libraries, will study what people wrote in the months of lockdown and the uncertain times that preceded and followed it.
“Within the poems submitted to this competition there were some which took a macro approach, talking about the whole of the past few months and weighing it on the page; some mourned loss, others longed for freedom, but the ones which I’ve ended up choosing, in my opinion, manage to successfully write about their chosen topic by accepting that they can’t write about the whole. Perhaps a moment of silence in a garden, a personal experience or an examination of life having to continue despite everything, tells us just as much about the lived reality of surviving a pandemic as statistics or headlines do.
“Each of these poems pulses with worry, with relief, with fear, with anger, with trepidation and hope, all the emotions we’ve experienced since the start of the pandemic. There were so many poems I could have chosen, but I ended up landing on these. I hope they bring you some solace, and I hope in a decade we’ll read them again, and remember.”
The competition had a total of 2,381 entries, and so far has raised more than £7,500 for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. We hope and expect that the sales of our competition anthology containing 100 poems will add to that total. You can pre-order a copy here
ILLUSTRATION: OSCAR JORDON