Young Poet Laureate

Young Poet Laureate

Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate is run jointly by Severn Arts and Worcestershire Libraries, celebrating the talented voices of young local poets.

Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate is run jointly by Worcestershire Libraries, Severn Arts and Public Health Worcestershire, celebrating the talented voices of young local poets by inviting them to submit their written poetry for the opportunity to perform at the Young Poet Laureate final. 

If you are creative, love words and have something to say – we want to hear from you!  

As Young Poet Laureate you could:

  • have your work published  
  • receive mentoring from professional poets  
  • gain opportunities to perform and share your work  

Amelie Simon, is the current Young Poet Laurate 2023 and said that the competition has helped her confidence grow: 

“I never could have dreamt of getting up on a stage to read my own poetry, but I’ve discovered that the stage offers me a place to be authentically me and to have a great time doing it! I’ve met some of the most incredible people and found so much comfort in the art form.”  

How to apply

To apply, simply submit one poem as an example of your work. This poem should respond to the theme, change.

Here are some ideas that could be used to inspire your poetry:

  • what changes have you experienced in your own life?
  • wan you describe a time when something around you changed?
  • what other things in nature go through changes?
  • if you could change into anything, what would you become?
  • what are the changes you would like to make to the world?

Application deadline: Monday 1 April 2024

Apply on the Severn Arts website

About the competition

The competition is judged across 3 age categories: school years 6 to 8, 9 to 11 and 12 to 13.  

Shortlisted poets are invited to perform in the Young Poet Laureate final. At this event, a winner from each age category is selected by the panel of judges. Of these three winners, one young person will be awarded the title of Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate 2024.

The Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate 2024 final is on 28 April at The Hive in Worcester.

Read Amelie’s winning poems ‘Ascension’ and ‘Spacetime'

Ascension by Amelie Simon

I love you, girl,
Laying down roots like skipping ropes,
Knowing that they’ll soon be torn from the earth,
But you’ll thrive in a bigger pot.
You lounge beneath the ferns,
Bathed in the midday sun
That washes away the sins that were never yours to bear.
Clutch your beads and cut up your skirts,
Build a monument to the self you’ll be.
Watch as the ants scurry,
About your hand, that hovers barely above the soil,
Shielding them from the harsh light of the morn.
Listen to the larks,
Tell them about your day,
About how in the years to come
Their songs will be dedicated to you,
And when they are, you’ll return the favour.
Eventually, the music will swell
And you’ll find your seat amongst the stars,
Use twigs and muck and leaves on the edge of rot,
Weave yourself a new body,
Construct a self you’re happy with,
One that will withstand the other children’s rocks,
Trade your left eye for the world
(Or perhaps just for second best)
I love you, girl,
Budding like a plastic rose,
Brimming with yet to ‘be’s and ‘never will’s,
Stretch out your branches in a languid wave
And promise to return to your first temple,
A land of beetles, hope and moss,
Your hair that snags on twigs as you climb
Will only trap you for so long,
Until you hoist yourself skyward,
Up! Up! Up!
Escape the canopy and rise,
But promise you’ll come back.

Spacetime is Shaped Like a Railway Track by Amelie Simon

Lovingly following the contours of spacetime,
I sink closer to where it all begins,
Gravity drawing me between the sofa cushions.
“Welcome to the Great Western Railway service to Hereford.”
It's well-established that gravity makes time move slower.
It's why when I'm sat on this train,
My world is crawling by at a wobbling toddler’s pace,
Slower than the world of the girls on their shopping trip,
Slower than the world of the man sifting through his book,
Slower than the world of the ticket guy as he leans on an empty chair,
Because I'm being pulled towards my centre,
Where it all began.
“Calling at: Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Ledbury and Hereford.” 
Most accept gravity acts towards the earth's core,
Aristotle taught gravity was just the nature of earth-bound beings,
But Newton suggested everything tends towards a God-given line.
He just couldn't find it,
But I've found it,
On this train track,
Getting pulled towards my beginnings,
The world outside becoming stop-motion frames,
I can hear the shutter clicks as the train wades through the hours,
And I wade through the pages of my past,
And my father’s past and my father’s father’s past.
“Sorry for the delay, we’re just being held at a red signal”
This train track ends,
But the line keeps going.
At some point it is not constrained
By conventional euclidean space,
At some point it strides through the fourth dimension,
Curving back on itself while only moving forward,
There are level crossings over it but they always lead back to it.
“Please remember to take all your belongings with you.”
If only I could follow it,
Trace its path through places I have not seen (but will see),
Then I would see me,
Reflected back at me through fractures of my ancestors,
A fractal of personhood,
Each deeper look revealing past, future and present all at the same time,
All with the same eyes.
The years will shape furrows into my face,
The decades before me will become the decades after me,
The world will change and I will be unchanged but not the same.
“Please mind the gap between the door and the platform edge.”
Once my foot touches the pavement of the station,
When my heel makes contact with the concrete,
I am far enough from the line to stop feeling its pull,
It is still there, enticing me to enter that slow-motion montage
Of days that were not yet days
And time capsules of lives that were not yet mine,
But in the puddles on the platform I only see my own face,
Blurry, with mist stamped under the eyes like a library return,
And acne scars like a scrunched up receipt for adolescence,
I can just about make out where crow's feet will form,
Like dog-eared pages of smiles from yesteryears.
It’s my own face, a swirling vortex version of it anyway,
Eddy currents billowing through my cheeks.
And I know that I’ll come back
To the formless futures buried in my past,
And my father’s past, and my father’s father’s past,
Because spacetime is shaped like a railway track.
"The next train to arrive at platform one will be the 10:45 Great Western Railway service to you.”

Young Poet Laureate for Youth Mental Health Day

Watch a video of Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate, Amelie Simon with a poem for Youth Mental Health Day.

Amelie Simon, We are (mostly) well-oiled machines

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