University Poetry Challenge

I couldn’t resist using this title, but what we had the evening of February 4 was not a competition between the University of Greenwich and Goldsmiths. It was an opportunity for us to appreciate the students’ skills with words and for the students to read in front of an audience – something which some had not experienced before. All showed great courage, writing confidence (and many were confident readers, too), a touching solidarity with each other and a wide range of interests and focus, from the very intimate and personal to the fate of whales (which felt equally intimate and personal…). The students had been asked by Cherry Smyth and Blake Morrison to submit a few short poems each, and poet extraordinaire Sascha Akhtar had kindly agreed to select three winner for each university. And to perform some of her poetry at the beginning, while Cherry and Blake did so at the end, after a lively students’ open mic session.

The prizes (book tokens) were presented by Sascha, who commented on the chosen poems. With infinite thanks to PnSEL (Poetry network South East London), who channelled a donation from an anonymous donor to in-words to make it all possible. A memorable evening with a large and very appreciative audience.

Some (rather poor) images of Sascha and some of the winners below. More to follow.

Events

STILL EUROPEAN – Thursday 25 February 2021 at 7.30 on Zoom

However you feel about ‘having got brexit done’ (personally, I am gutted…), I want to celebrate the diverse languages, artforms and culture of Europe with an evening of words, images and more words.

In collaboration with the Mary Evans Picture Library in Blackheath and thanks to its Poetry and Pictures Blog, curated by Gill Stoker, we shall hear Sarah Lawson, Fiona Moore, Gabriel Moreno, John McCullough, Emma Page, Jacqueline Saphra and Richard Westcott read their poems on a European theme and show the pictures that inspired them. They will also read their favourite European poem in translation and, wherever possible, in the original.

Free by invitation. Email irena@in-words.co.uk to be sent a zoom link the day before the event.