A South Hampstead High School pupil has been named as a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in a global competition run by The Poetry Society.
Camille, in Year 10, was celebrated as one of 15 winners at an awards ceremony at the National Theatre this week. Her poem (below) was selected from more than 13,500 poems submitted by over 6,600 entrants from across the world, from as far afield as Nepal and Panama. Her winning poem, The Immigrant in Me Is a Success Story, will be published on The Poetry Society’s website and appear in an online anthology in the spring. The Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award is for open to pupils aged 11-17 and has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices.
Camille commented: ‘I’ve never truly been brave enough to share my poetry with anyone voluntarily – probably because it’s always intensely personal. Winning was, however, an incredibly encouraging experience… I never expected someone I’ve never met, let alone a professional poet, to see something in my work. I will be forever grateful for the chance to feel recognised and heard, as well as to the competition for providing a way for young poets to put themselves out there.’
All 15 winners and 85 commended writers receive a year’s youth membership of The Poetry Society and a goody bag of books donated by the award’s sponsors. As one of the top 15, Camille has been invited to attend a residential writing course at the Arvon centre The Hurst in Shropshire next year, where she will spend a week receiving mentoring from some of the biggest names in UK poetry.
The Immigrant in Me Is a Success Story
‘Medals can deflect bullets’,
An old story,
I remember being five by a fire that is burning all through my house,
Grandfather’s cheeks like leather when he smiles,
Soldier in the square safe from the metal round his collarbone,
And even now he is smoking –
Dent in the gold where his voice would be
Being something can save your life.
Love is a study in flaws.
In struggle everything is a metaphor.
Education is not the sitting in the classroom but
The hopes that you will gain some secret knowledge that will
Keep you out of the kitchen.
Grandmother sweating over the wok’s flame dreaming
As her son’s heart is pushed further into his desk.
Encouraging writing, poetry and creative learning at the GDST
At the GDST we actively encourage our students of all ages to explore their creativity in a variety of forms. Recently this has included creating an outdoor learning environment inspired by a beloved book at Sutton High School and engaging with GDST alumna to inspire a new crop of budding female poets at our schools.