Univ Library poetry competition winners
The Univ Library Team is delighted that our inaugural poetry competition has been a huge success! We received 20 entries from 17 poets, with students, academics, staff and Old Members from across our community taking part (plus a cheeky entry from the Bodleian Conservation librarians…)
The poems we received were of an exceptionally high quality, and it was a genuine pleasure to read the works that were submitted. Choosing only one winner and one runner-up was very difficult, but we had an enjoyably lively discussion while making our final decision. We would like to thank everyone who took part for sharing their poetry with us, and for taking time during a very busy term to pause, reflect, and write.
Without further ado, we are excited to announce that our winner is Sahar Malaika (2021, English). Her poem “How to Tie a Sari” made us all smile, and we thought the rhythm conveyed frustration really well while punctuating the experience with brilliant pops of humour. Sahar is the recipient of the coveted RadCam teapot, though we are sure her poetry will be celebrated in the future with even greater accolades.
Our runner-up is Rónán Poots (2021, Engineering). He wrote his poem “Cinnamon Whirls” on his study notes in a moment of frustration after getting a question wrong, and we thought having that context evident on the poem juxtaposed really nicely with the theme of companionship.
“How to Tie a Sari”
Pleat, Pleat, Pleat.
Again, on to the floor
Of a wooden box
With a mirror and a sliding door.
God this itches.
I want my fleece back I’m cold.
Pleat. Pleat. Pleat.
Is this about home?
Or am I just reaching for words I can’t taste?
Tuck, wrap, pleat, drape.
Tuck. Tuck. TUCK.
“She comes in through a crack in the door.”
Pleat, pleat, pleat.
“I’ll sew these together for you.”
“What can google tell you that I can’t?”
She turns me to the mirror.
“See? It just takes practice.”
Without the heels, the earrings, the bangles
I see all that I’ve come from
In the form of wild curly hair and a draping grey cardigan
Sahar Malaika (2021, English)
If I were an earthworm, I’d have sex for three hours a day.
But I’m not.
I spend that time instead drinking coffee,
that costs four quid,
And it still tastes mid at best.
I don’t drink for the taste,
it’s for the friends I drink with,
but they aren’t earthworms either.
Rónán Poots (2021, Engineering
Read Rónán’s poem as it was originally written on his study notes.