19-21 March 2015
Homerton College, Cambridge
THE POETRY BY HEART 2015 CHAMPION HAS BEEN FOUND!
Emily Dunstan from Graveney School in Central London is the new Poetry By Heart Champion for 2015. Reciting three poems in front of a highly appreciative audience at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, Emily triumphed at the end of a search for a champion that began six months ago with hundreds of students taking part in school competitions up and down the country. Her winning poems were…
Havering Sixth Form College’s Josephine Obeng took second place, while King Edward VI School (Lichfield) student Oliver Sullivan came third. Over the weekend, 43 students recited three poems each to a crowded auditorium in which you could hear a pin drop! They were also taken on a walking tour of Cambridge, had a formal dinner at Homerton College with the principal Geoff Ward, had their pick of creative writing workshops, a university admissions talk and guided relaxation sessions and several were recorded for BBC Radio Four’s Poetry Please request show.
The judging panel in charge of making that tricky final decision was made up of some of the country’s top contemporary poets and academics. As well as Sir Andrew Motion and Jean Sprackland, this included Daljit Nagra, Patience Agbabi, Jo Shapcott, Tim Dee and Catherine Robson.
Sir Andrew Motion: “Emily has truly taken these poems to her heart and shared them with us today in a way that is both beautiful and moving.”
In her concluding remarks at the end of a highly successful event Co-founder of Poetry By Heart, Julie Blake said: ‘The 43 finalists came from every part of England and every kind of school. They were drawn together by a love of poetry discovered by committing their own choices to memory. Those poems will stay with them for life, changing as they grow.’
We asked some of our young people their opinions on Poetry By Heart, their advice for future competitors and the way they consider poetry. We’ll leave you with their thoughts…
On the weekend…
Pavel Poloskin, Bromsgrove Senior School – (favourite part of PBH) “Getting to the finals and having the chance to recite even though English is not my native language.”
Adam Vale, Parkside Community College – (favourite part of PBH) “The chance to experience an amazing dinner in the great hall, meeting people with shared interests and dreams.”
Eleanor Davison, Whitley Bay High School – “Enjoying it is the most important part, to be in the regional finals from all the students is an achievement in itself.”
Advice for other students…
Freya Mallard, Chesham Grammar School – “Know your first line, because if you do, everything else fits in.”
Lily Blundell, King Edward VI School Stratford – “Choose a poem that feels like it was written for you.”
Oliver Sullivan, King Edward VI School Lichfield – “Drink plenty of water, but don’t drown!”
Esther Dina, All Saints Catholic High School – “Breathe and trust that you know your poems.”
The way they interact with poetry…
Caitlin Carr, Teesdale School – “This weekend has made me want to learn more poetry by heart. Thinking about how to perform a poem brings meaning to them.”
Sebi Ogunremi, Bancroft’s School – “Poetry By Heart made me think about the way sentences are structured and the way poets use imagery to get across their feelings.”
Emily Dunstan, Graveney School – “Poetry By Heart has increased my understanding of how the voice is important.”