Freya is commended in the Keats challenge on Young Poets Network, part of The Poetry Society’s celebrations of Keats’s bicentenary in 2021.
Jude is the third-prize winner of the Keats challenge on Young Poets Network, part of The Poetry Society’s celebrations of Keats’s bicentenary in 2021.
Olivia is the first-prize winner of the Keats challenge on Young Poets Network, part of The Poetry Society’s celebrations of Keats’s bicentenary in 2021.
for Grandad Beyond the window, summer is packing up, the way we used to gather the leftovers, fold the picnic blanket and carry it – and the hamper – back to the car’s open boot. Once, you’d have told me why the air seems to cling. Now, the long shadows stare as you lie, your […]
I’ve never held an orange which has fully dried out, with its cloves loose and falling apart. I’m only experienced in fresh oranges, cloves displacing juice, a candle wrapped in tinfoil, dolly mixtures on cocktail sticks, the church a once-a-year attendance. The belltower is a place I’ll never visit again. Pulling joy with ropes after […]
I’d rather play in the park, I think but at least it’s not school. I’m somewhere completely new. It looks nice and clean but all the grown-ups look so sad and I don’t know why. They tell me it’s a fairly simple procedure but I’m not so sure I would have to sleep in this […]
lifting cans of rice pudding over my head counting to eight on the metronome of my hips eight more eight more in the living room yes! I can balance on one leg and stay there like a tree half uprooted I had not thought of my body as a party I had not thought of […]
I do not want to be. I am a negative – if the grey light grazes me, I will bloom into uselessness, sepia spreading to my curled edges. I do not want the light to leak anymore. I lunge across my lurching floor and drag down the blinds, then fall onto my still-made bed; the […]
How bored you are, explaining phenotypes to me. I stammer about GCSE biology; I have forgotten T cells exist, I have forgotten clots, platelets, osmotic pressure, I have forgotten my birthday. You hand me another form; like mine, your hands are small. I wonder how many times a day you ask which arm, how many […]
in memory of g. a. w. All we have are the notes in our phones and a lemon before it rots against the ceramic fruit-bowl, blue memento mori, the crazing writing age in webs. Not the dusty kind, stuck to cilia and the dark corners of a buy-to-let; I mean the alive webs, silky and […]
today, my lungs feel like the sky, ballooned and loose and free, legs billowing like a sailboat on the far east, the horizon just before the drop, tangled limbs and summer and laughing. today, i go miles without stopping, and miles more. it’s been a while since i felt alive. it’s because i ran every […]
You first found the sickness in your mouth when your tongue fuzzed and split, a fast motion image of soft fruit in decay playing out in your bathroom mirror spit out into culture growing on the grime of your sink, white foam on the banks of the red sea revealing rust flavoured canyons sunk between […]
Alannah is commended in the Human Cell Atlas challenge on Young Poets Network.
Lauren is commended in the Human Cell Atlas challenge on Young Poets Network.
Kitty is the second-prize winner in the Human Cell Atlas challenge on Young Poets Network.
Anna is the first-prize winner in the Human Cell Atlas challenge on Young Poets Network.
Glass tank in a biology classroom; I count the centipedes. See? Hundreds of subtle, creeping things, life’s sediment, seldom stirred. Quantification is human nature; three celery-green eyes encircle the wrist of a fairy tale witch. A trio of centaurs, lamenting in triolet form. A census. I count centipedes in the biology classroom; time scuttles past […]
Liminal: fairy-blue, like the spaces between diagnoses. The centre of a trembling that hollows out a city, or a marriage. Organza petticoats made from blackbird feathers and staples. The curve of a tongue on the back of the word lullaby. The writhing of mango skins in water as seeds float frost-like on the surface. […]
two sisters pushing their hands two together, two sets of fingers, thumbs – candy popping round their mouth, pastel shards of it – each vowel sound posed an opposite to hiss like capsizing dinghies – approachable gossip to figure out a kiss or fight, popped spots, acne scars, posed in the dark as if they’re […]
Mapping my body along its tissues, I trace the curved lines across my palm, up veins branching like B roads and touch my face – people say I look like you. Our eyes crinkle the same way when we laugh and our throats creak like rusty weather vanes. Stretching my arms, I imagine white fascia […]
Pulled taut, the silken surface of the Seine comes to kiss my toes, recedes, and comes again; moves around my feet but swathes to meet the mellow rain. My skin understands: what must stay in, stays in. Like a tongue held hostage in foreign terrain. Words taught falter and sounds wane. When water falls on […]
Blister on my finger grows, the chasm between bone and the outer ring of skin, the skin filling with glassy liquid, the inside of the plaster like an open egg and I am queasy at the sight of my weeping fingernails, the eager yellow jelly, all the yolks I haven’t eaten, the whites of someone […]
Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version of this zine
Cassie had creases in her cheeks, they were wrinkled like fingers that had spent too long in the bath; Cassie had a leak, she had a tearaway tear duct that was responsible for the flood, her clothes were soaked through, they stick to her skin like a wet suit. Every suit Cassie wore was […]
(Chords: A, B, C#, E) I could never meet your expectations Always out of reach Never gave me an explanation I could never be free Clip my wings so I can’t fly Tear my down every time I try I know I could never be in her place When I needed you you just […]
Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version of this zine
Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version
Contains strong language Download A Tale of Two Counties (zine)
Download Mushroom Garden (zine)
GM Kuhn and SZ Shao are commended in the Collaborative Challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Mushroom Garden.
Priya and Hannah are commended in the Collaborative Challenge on Young Poets Network, with their poetry/collage piece Confession.
Jack and Daniel are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their piece of music and poetry, ‘The perfect caress has a velocity of three centimetres per second’.
Ellora and Hannah are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine A Tale of Two Counties.
The writers and artists in group are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Bad Vibes Only.
Lauren and Simran are the third-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their song ‘Wings’.
The writers and artists in group are the first-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Anime Boyz.
Kia and Miles are the second-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their music and poetry piece ‘cassie and the flood’.
for Chioma Ubogagu Good God! Watch her, how she swallows the crowd-song, how boldly she strikes the pitch’s borders with her toes, warping the white lines, the way she knows to reduce each sun in the stadium lights to a ball, how she kicks into the midst of each fiery […]
Swift and agile Sleek and prehensile – Skittering across bark And as dexterously over brick – Squirrel. The arch survivor – A thief in woodland A bandit of suburbia, Beautiful peanut pirate. You skim the rigging of Rotary washing lines And old telephone wires: Your sail-tail A Spinnaker of balance – A back garden acrobat. […]
In Portland we don’t use the word, we dance around it – furry things, we’d say, the furry things are in backfield again. As a child I only knew I should never look directly at them, the same way I knew not to look at the sun. It was wrong. It would hurt later on. […]
A sunlight-mottled river shunts its weight Towards the sea, having nowhere else to go; Even the evening’s syrupy light can’t glaze it Into something pretty. The days are slow, So I come back often to this crease in the city’s palm, Where you might see a rabbit stare from the gorse Then vanish as quick […]
Contains strong language next to the vineyard tree pub extra ordinaire free gravy on the side with all chips and running down the carvery yellow walls as brown shadow coats rusted telephone poles in something pretty home of the famous hooke team their sweaty shins and boys crying after hours behind the mccoll’s dogs pissing […]
Leaves falling through my open window, I hear thorn bushes rustling in the wind. I see trees dropping apples, Birds rustling their way through the thick branches To reach their nests. Eagles swooping down on my house, Searching for rats. Horses running from the barn. I hear the sudden noises of the cows mooing, Ants […]
They were here when I arrived; decadent strata of spots in rich orange, red, and green, a pointillist Zhangye Danxia on the ceiling of my student en-suite. I tried to kill them, but they came back, appearing out of nowhere like an absurd flash mob so I shower each morning under a hundred spiteful […]
walking down the side of my house, i count the number of steps it takes to cross this white field of pebbles. for months, i could not touch the world. i only knew it through the window in my room. now the wind bounds past me like a dog. someone has overturned a stone in […]
man heaves up stairs man pauses on step seventy-two man spits a prayer man ascends man gropes doorway man forgets keys man forgets keys in back pocket man pushes through man finds air man plunges onto rails man seeks the bars man has cold cheeks man catches a cloud man lets it go man plucks […]
Grace is commended in Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
chenrui is commended in Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Finn is the second-prize winner of Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
A Golden Shovel
the end times in numbers: 4 horsemen 1 cancelled judgement day 1 giant rip through the sky 1 ocean brimming with plastic 1 people at risk remember self-care! pumice from the endless eruptions is effective on dry arms. steaming pyres also have a cleansing effect on skin, if you have any left. have a blackout […]
after Kate Bingham I learnt that words don’t mean anything, That your hands do all the talking. I learnt that you don’t always have to tell the truth And I learnt that there’s always a loophole To weasel your way through. I learnt how to take offence at an inanimate object And how to play […]
there are worse things to be. i could be, for instance, dying, or alive, but just enough to be taking up space. i could wade through a body that does not belong to me. yes, i could ravage, rumble, sour your milk, bite your children, poison your evening news. i could enlist my grandparents to […]
Hannah is commended in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize.
Emma is commended in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize.
Content warning: grief
Content warning: rape
Rian is a commended Foyle Young Poet in 2019. They wrote and judged August Challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Jessica is the second-prize winner in August challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network.
Evelyn Blythe is the third-prize winner in August Challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network.
this is the moment skeletons became atheists. gold lodged in the back of throats and stuck, rigor mortis like you never had a chance. and maybe the soup tastes like corpses, or maybe the soup tastes like god. or like angels, and cracks in the barbed wire. because skeleton is a synonym for survivor, in […]
The sky reddening like an unbruised body— and you, gone for days now, calcified in this unshed nightmare where the tiger is closing its teeth over your wrist again, dozens of rabbit carcasses littering the halls again, tiger slipping quiet through the nights, […]
Somewhere out there is a statue of me where my face isn’t as long, my sadness shorter. I meet with her head-on. I tell her to turn in the direction of the power ballads and the attractive folks that sing them. I’ve just seen a face, says Paul McCartney in the middle of 1965, and […]
Halfway through the horror movie, the lights give out, the whole city held under a blanket. Turning the other cheek. Some phantom hand finds mine. I will learn to love you softly is what the house would say, its belly emitting a quiet dust rumble, drops in the kitchen sink like fingers drumming a wooden […]
I The mini liberators of women, hoisting those hems to the Heavens, giving their legs room to breathe. II The silver capped scholars, keeping those iridescent specimens in place for little curious eyes. III The diligent sewers’ stabilisers, holding together linen squares so they can stitch their designs to life. IV The silent supporters, presenting […]
Body lies on the bottom step. How did it get there? we ask. Body is bloody. Hair matted. Nails dirty. Body ’s hand falls near the light. We are glad Body has made no mess. Clean fall. No Body would notice. What should we do? Body says rug. Wrap me […]
Jasmine is the first-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Ottavia is the third-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Lauren is a top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020, and is commended in August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Iqra is commended in August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Joan of Arc and I lay head-to-head in the wash of a meadow frothing Queen Anne’s lace like a corrupted lung. Her fingers dabbling my palms like water, that martyr and I speak of our own voices: mine, stolen; hers given like a sack of entrails. Did the voices twitch, I ask, did they wriggle […]
For Wilfred Owen Contains strong language our bodies ache on the streets where we rattle plastic cans for change we watch the flocks of low drooping eyes scuttle by like brambles in the north wind we have become part of the scene patient hopeful crying out but nothing happens on the corner a preacher […]
I saw Humphrey Bogart in a train station, Crewe, three o’clock in the morning, and he looked as faded and grey as I felt stumbling half asleep off the late service. When I was ushered out the doors, he was just there by the taxi rank, leant up on a pillar, smoking, lit up […]
You may know Jesus. That preacher/teacher/healer/magic man with the clear silt skin. You may have seen him around town, raising the dead and making friends. Maybe he cleaned up your acne, maybe he showed you the gold humming of God. Take a look at his Tumblr: @carpentryqween. 1/? Jesus is a rebel leader/activist/socialist/pacifist and last […]
“Do you not know I am a woman?”(Act III, scene ii, As You Like It) My lover and I no longer speak. We leave notes in the mist on one another’s eyes. Once, he carried me through fields of sheep when I began to doubt that softness could be born. My lover doesn’t see the […]
Delhi, 2020 Delhi today is like a dried-out battleground / after one final revolution. Sentries in khaki thrash / young men on peculiar vehicles / for something I don’t understand. I hide my sewed-up face / in dark alleys; people look at me from the other side of their windows / scared. I’d have […]
Show me your teeth, God. Tonight, at the Apple Store under the unshut moon. Visit me tonight, God. Fog this spirit mirror with your Word — blind me with this new handheld eclipse. Oh, but my head sings with standing so long as the marrow of this sun-bleached bone. Church as mirage. Along its aisles […]
Ferenc II Rákóczi was a Hungarian aristocrat who led rebellions against the Habsburg empire in the early 18th century. He is widely considered a national hero in Hungary.”Rákóczi” is also the name of a popular Hungarian breakfast salami. Dear, kind Ferenc: I am in love with your meat-printed face. I fan this last pious slice, […]
Irma is the second-prize winner in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize. Irma is also commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected.
Erik is commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected on Young Poets Network.
Helena is commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected on Young Poets Network.
Ife is a commended Foyle Young Poet of 2019. He wrote and judged August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Riya is commended in August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry on Young Poets Network.
Molly is commended in August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry on Young Poets Network.
Annie is the first-prize winner of August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry and the second-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Based on the legend of Chang’e Winter: the living room gleaned of moonlight. A city slumped anemic over its knees, milky and putrid like a wound unsutured. I used to scrape rust from kitchen counters and drink fat until my tongue swelled gibbous, large enough to swallow the November sky and your rice fields gone […]
is thinking of you at those just-teenage get togethers at Rebecca’s, hoping to feel grown but betraying your youth by gripping your glammed-up fruit shoot too tightly. Dionysus creating Strongbow Dark Fruit (and the Aldi knock-off too) is thinking of you at family BBQs, where you are fourteen and disgusting and need something to do […]
And I never saw my mother again. All my stars fell palms-first into the thorns outside my small glassless window. No door, no stairs. I just found myself, there. My thimble. My long smoking rifle and I, the smoke softly ceasing to exist. It takes seventy years to wash my hair. She did it in […]
Şahmaran tells me behind her bar, don’t trust a man if you have to tell him but you have sisters and a mother, too. don’t trust them if they think clearing the table is a compromise don’t trust the family father who thinks his sons rather fear him don’t trust the boy who pulls your […]
Don’t let your widowed father remarry— that is, if you still want to wake up at dawn to the sound of your heart beating between your ribs. Remember: stepmothers are evil and vain and bloodthirsty and own talking magic mirrors capable of making calculated analyses of your beauty. Remember: all that […]
A boy: small thighs, coat aged into feathers, walks in through the cold. Undressing his wet clothes I find breadcrumbs in the folds of skin. He unwinds the limbs of an apple. Milk slips from his childish lilt. I weep as he sucks the glass like an orphan. I bring him my blankets and I […]