That is the advice of acclaimed poet Grace Nichols, who along with writer Simon Barraclough will be judging the world’s largest award for young poets this year.
The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is open to young people aged between 11 and 17. Anyone writing in English can enter the competition and poems can be of any length and on any theme. Entries must be submitted by July 31, with the winners being announced at London’s Royal Festival Hall on October 2 (National Poetry Day).
Last year nearly 7,500 young poets from around the world submitted their writing.
This year the competition’s 15 winners will have their poems published in a special anthology. They will also get the chance to attend a week-long residential creative writing course, where they will be tutored by the two judges.
A further 85 commended poets will receive book prizes.
“The Foyle Young Poets competition is a great way of involving young people in the making of poetry and keeping the power and magic of language alive,” said Grace Nichols, who won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1983.
“I’ll be on the look out for poems that surprise me with their images; poems that are tuned in to the resonance and sounds of words and not those that merely rhyme for rhyme’s sake; in fact poems that engage the senses and imagination and catch us up in the world they create.”
For further details of how to enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, go to www.foyleyoungpoets.org