Meet the War Poetry for Today winners!

Meet the War Poetry for Today winners!

Friday, 5 December 2014

With over a 1000 submissions received since August 2014, we meet the final three winners of our hugely popular project in conjunction with Touring Consortium Theatre Company's production of Pat Barker's Regeneration

Well done to everyone who submitted their poetry to the War Poetry for Today project! In this, the centenary year of World War One, we have all remembered and recounted the effects that war has on people during conflict and well beyond 'the end' of war. You've been writing and submitting your poetry across the UK and even internationally, with entries as far as Nigeria! Your work comes together with over a 1000 others - all saying something about war and ultimately being united in remembrance.

Thank you to everybody for getting involved, with special thanks to those who took part in our poetry workshops, schools, theatre audiences, the judges and the Regeneration cast who kindly read shortlisted poems each week during the project.

It was hard to narrow down the shortlisted poems but the task of deciding the final winners fell to the poetry judges. So take a look at the winning poets and read some of the feedback from our judges below...

WINNING POEM - The First Time by Jasmine Heydari 

Jasmine is a translator and writer who currently lives in Sweden but was born in Iran during the Iran/Iraq war. We met with Jasmine to find out more about her and the inspiration behind her poem. Check back on Theatre Cloud to read more about her soon!

"Does what a poem should, uses distilled impressionistic detail, doesn't try to explain. A particular experience but the reader is able to share it. I get more out of this poem every time I read it." Jacqui Rowe, Poet

"A very strong poem written in a simple form to mirror the child (or memory of childhood) but with clear depth." 
Stuart Lee,  Director of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Watch the winning poem read by the Jasmine Heydari herself

RUNNER UP - For Phil by Rachael Pettus 

Rachael is from Cyprus and wrote her poem in memory of Phil, who passed away 18 months ago from Agent-Orange related cancer (a legacy of Vietnam service) and whose ashes are scattered in Belleau Wood military cemetery (he had uncles who fought in 3 different armies in WW1).

"A beautiful poem that starts with the pastoral scene of the cemetery – describing light and sound in strong terms ... Ultimately a poem of consolation but detached as the observer does not know the dead soldier." Stuart Lee,  Director of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive

"Strong,sensory details, a cool, slightly detached approach to the war which is refreshing" 
Jacqui Rowe, Poet

Watch 'For Phil' read by Oliver Malam

MOST POPULAR - Passed Down by Olivia Childs 

Voted as most popular by our online audiences, Passed Down was written by 16-year-old Olivia Childs.

"Strong poem: linking past and present, commenting on previous poetry, and reflecting on nature of memory and commemoration."
Alistair McCleery, Professor of Literature and Culture at Edinburgh Napier University

"Interesting exploration of memory and the war, and its relevance to today." 
Stuart Lee,  Director of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Watch Passed Down read by Daniel Cech-Lucas

View all submissions to this project or check out the shortlisted poems here

Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.