Over the last week I’ve been rereading You Speak in Constellations – the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Anthology 2020 which features poems by the fifteen winning young writers – and an accompanying volume of work by the 85 highly commended poets. Young lives and their stories burst out of these two collections. The work is fresh, vibrant and from such a wide range of perspectives. Three poems in particular stand out for me. They are the ones that I’ve been back to so many times already. You can read them below or by following the links. Be inspired.
Indigo Mudbhary’s Brown Girl (page 27) offers advice about how to survive as a Nepali in American society. She uses repetition so effectively to juxtapose humour and harsh realities in a breath-taking one sentence poem spanning two pages: ‘here’s how to approach an elephant: here’s how to approach an elephant in the room.’
Libby Russell’s Love Poem to Young Offenders Support Workers (page 22) lovingly details in spare language the hard truths of young lives lived and those who ‘know/how to scoop up boys spilling out onto pavements’.
Anna Gilmore Heezen’s *///Total///* (page 18) is written in the form of a till receipt that totals up all the anxious summer-long wait for exam results for a young life disrupted by Covid-19, exam board algorithms and far too much uncertainty, a life which does not ‘want to be calculated’.
If you are 11- 17 years or know someone who is, then investigate how to enter this year’s Foyle Young Poets competition which closes at midnight on 31st July 2021.