Poets and writers from right across the county arrived at the Wisbech Museum on Wednesday 19th March to take part in the third annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards!
Fenland Poet Laureate for 2014 is Poppy Kleiser. The judges really enjoyed Poppy’s poem, ‘Digging’, which took the competition theme of ‘Fenland’ and looked at it in an unusual and compelling way.
The six highly commended poets in this year’s Fenland Poet Laureate Competition were Richard Powell, Paul Quant, Michael Riccardi, Miriam Brown, Deb Curtis and Rosemary Westwell. Third place was jointly awarded to Helen Pletts and Jonathan Totman, and Emma Danes took second place.
Young Fenland Poet Laureate award for 2014 was awarded to Florence Browse for her poem ‘Liquorice Lines’. The judges were really impressed with the sense of rhythm in Florence’s poem, and the wonderfully vivid imagery really captured the spirit of Fenland!
The seven highly commended poets in the Young Poet Laureate category were Hannah Lemmon, Ben Hamilton, Lucy McInerney, Harry Sayer, Rana Gadir, Macy Hilton, and Rachael White. Third place was awarded to William Sinfield and Kristina Tunnard came second in the competition. It was Kristina’s second time on the winner’s podium – a fantastic achievement!
This brilliant local initiative gives writers the chance to compete for the title of Fenland Poet Laureate, a role that allows its recipient to write poetry for local events, and work to help raise the profile of literary and creative writing throughout the Fens. Originally founded in 2011 by Karen Harvey, the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards received initial funding in the form of a highly coveted Clore Poetry & Literature Award.
This year’s event was organised by local poets Elaine Ewart and Leanne Moden, with support from ADeC, Atelier East and the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, and funding from the Wisbech Town Council and Friends of the Wisbech and Fenland Museum. Having had two very successful years of awards ceremonies, it’s clear that there is a great appetite for poetry in the Fens, and this year’s event was fully booked too!
On the night, the Wisbech and Fenland Museum was full to bursting with enthusiastic supporters and excited poets, and the atmosphere was one of friendly trepidation. Elaine Ewart – who won the Fenland Poet Laureateship in 2012 – was the perfect host, and last year’s winner Leanne Moden gave a short speech detailing the fantastic projects she initiated during her tenure. Seven of the ten young poets attended the event, and each one read their poem with admirable composure. If any of the finalists were nervous, it certainly didn’t show, and it was wonderful to see so many young people engaging with this local project through their writing.
Congratulations to Florence and Poppy, and to all our winners and finalists!