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Univ Library Poetry competition winners 2024

Posters about poetry competition on a table with the Old Library bookcases in the backgroundThe Univ Library Team is very pleased to report that our second annual poetry competition has been a roaring success! We had an overwhelming response this year; 70 poets from across the Univ community sent us 124 poems. Undergraduates, grads, academic and support staff, and very many Old Members shared their poetry with us, making for an enjoyably eclectic collection.

Reading the poems was a true pleasure for the three of us, although it was a juggling act to fit in all that reading amongst a very busy Trinity Term schedule (thanks again to our poets for their incredible patience!). When it came to shortlisting our favourites, we had quite the animated discussion, with several of the poems rousing fierce defences. We finally agreed on two outstanding poems to award as our winner and runner up. Due to the fantastic quality of the poems we received, we have indulged ourselves and will below publish four of our favourite honourable mentions, as well as our winning poems.

We are delighted to announce that our very deserving winner is recent graduate Lucie de Gentile (2018, Classics), with her poem “Lamps in the Dark”. Lucie’s evocation of the Oxford experience really resonated with us. We liked the sense of rhythm and Lucie’s use of breaks between stanzas to add meaning. The succinct language gives a strong impression of the poet’s time at Oxford and recognises the impermanence of that experience, reminding us to live in the moment. One member of the Library Team noted that the poem makes her want to hear it read aloud! Lucie is the proud recipient of the coveted Radcliffe Camera teapot.

Our runner-up is Old Member Alan Franks (1966, English), who shared his beautiful poem “The Waters O’er”. We liked the positivity of Alan’s poem. He captures the intensity of the childhood experience, and we found it cheering how the child’s (mis)understanding of the rainbow’s meaning went with him into adulthood and changed his world view. The metaphors, narrative drive and rhythm made this poem stand out.

Winner - Lamps in the Dark

Runner-up - The Waters O’er

Honourable mentions - New Document

Honourable mentions - Meanwhile the Sea

Honourable mentions - Child Support from Anchises

Honourable mentions - Ode to a Garish Teapot

Well done to our winners! We would like to give our sincere thanks to everyone who participated – thank you for taking the time to write and share your poetry with us. Our 6th Week Poetry Competition is fast becoming a tradition, and we hope Univites will have a go at writing a few stanzas next year.


Published: 24 April 2024

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