Winners of Foyle Young Poets of the Year award are announced

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The Poetry Society has announced the 15 winners of its Foyle Young Poets of the Year award, for poets aged 11-17. They are: Evie Alam, aged 14, from South Shields; Ahana Banerji, 17, Putney, London; Alex Dunton, 15, Cambridge; Hollie Fovargue, 17, Peterborough; Dhruti Halambi, 13, Cupertino, California, US; Erin Hateley, 16, Dartford, London; Jenna Hunt, 16, Great Yarmouth; Anja Livesey, 13, Nottingham; Lulu Marken, 15, Tunbridge Wells; Sarisha Mehta, 11, Staffordshire; Briancia Mullings, 17, Bedford; Giovanni Rose, 17, Tottenham, London; Daniel Wale, 16, Coventry; Ran Zhao, 15, Hong Kong; Chenrui Zhang, 16, Nottingham.

A total of 14,408 poems from 6,775 young people were entered, and there were entries from 109 countries. Judges Clare Pollard and Yomi Sode said: “These poets write out of diverse backgrounds, landscapes and experiences, and this has translated into a rich variety of form and language. Here are poems about youth, gender, poverty, love, struggle, politics, culture, family. Poems brimming with rightful anger and hard-won hope.

“But it is the vivid images that have stuck most forcefully in our minds: ‘a fat chalk of canned coconut milk’; the ‘tender sloppiness’ of daisy-chains; ‘limescale curling around a plug hole as a dragon’s tail’; dust’s ‘gleam’ in the spotlight; the smell of ‘Chick King’; ‘cracked plastic cups at children’s parties’. These are poems that fully inhabit this present moment.

“We are humbled to welcome all those who participated this year into the community of poets, and know that the voices of this year’s winners will ring out, clear and urgent, over the coming years.”

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