The environment is a frequent focus in the creative writing produced by First Story participants. Every year the contents of our published anthologies demonstrate how much young people care about the natural world and climate crisis. We developed our national Eco-poetry competition specifically to encourage, highlight and celebrate writing by young people on this theme.
From bringing to life whole universes, to using powerful imagery to convey broken landscapes, this year’s entries were inspired. Our judging panel ultimately selected three winners.
Third place was awarded to ‘Oikos’ by Nikola Juno Szczawinska from Cranford Community College in West London. The judges felt this poem “showed maturity and promise through startling use of imagery and juxtaposition”.
Second place went to ‘Motherland’ by Betu Kesete from Co-op Academy Grange in Bradford, which “managed to bring to life a wider universe in a deceptively short and simple looking poem.”
This year’s first place winner is ‘Healing’ by Cammeron (Jay) Jones, also from Cranford Community College, which the judges felt “deals with big questions through elegant and evocative use of language and alliterative verse.”
Congratulations to each of our three winners, who will receive certificates and eco-conscious goody-bags. A further six young writers who made this year’s shortlist will also receive certificates.
First place winner
Healing by Cammeron (Jay) Jones (Cranford Community College) Birdsong’s callout from long ruined skyscrapers, Countless colours cascade over grey skies, Towers tumble; falling into forests, All marvellous makings of man must rust. Concrete cracks in cities long abandoned, Spidering crevasses make way for trees, Is the monolith of man immortal? Nature will heal, birds sing, and time undone.
Second place winner
Motherland by Betu Kesete (Co-op Academy Grange) I left behind my sweet home filled with joyous laughter, a matchless beauty, a shining star that makes the sun feel ashamed. They said the Earth was the worst filled with polluting factories, causing the destruction the mutilation of the green land, but I say it’s the mother of joy, of love, the motherland.
Third place winner
Oikos by Nikola Juno Szczawinska (Cranford Community College) I draw a line in my life. Walk with demise, out of joint, out of line, An eye for an eye full of iodine. Idle in waterbeds: coral streets, fish bone sheets. Interlude in smoking, disrupted migrations, like trees repeat like numerals try to. Intertwine in orange haze, citrus ash, forest rash. I draw a line in my life. Invent sparrows when my names slip mind, A polymer pot, churned, digested laid to bed, Buried in orchards thick with timeless sap, evergreen tarmac. I found god in the plastic potted plant, lounging, barely breathing, He uprooted my home, forced stagnation made beauty ephemeral. I make sense of state lines, tree lines, itinerant lines, in flight in waves in rush in motion in gentle death
Click here to read last year’s winning submissions.