About Us competition judged by poets and scientists closes soon

The deadline of 9 January is approaching for the About Us poetry competition judged by Simon Armitage, Kathleen Jamie, Ifor ap Glyn, Stephen Sexton, Keith Jarrett and leading scientists.

The winning entries will be selected by a panel of judges, including poet laureate Simon Armitage, Scots Makar Kathleen Jamie, National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, award-winning Northern Irish poet Stephen Sexton, and UK Slam champion Keith Jarrett. Joining them will be STEM experts, including Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley, Tech entrepreneur Ghislaine Boddington, and founder of STEMETTES, Anne-Marie Imafidon.

Encouraging young people to put pen to paper, Simon Armitage says: “Surprise. Astonishment. Wonder. Words are the super-conductors of highly-charged emotions. When I read a poem I want to feel that sense of enchantment pass from writer to reader through the medium we call language.”

Kathleen Jamie says: “We’re often told that people are disconnected from the world and the universe beyond us, especially young people. But poetry can prove that’s not true. If you’re aged 4-18, please send your poems of fascination and excitement, or close observation. Please send poems that make unexpected links, or ask questions great and small. Send your best poem of wonder, in your best language, for us to read and enjoy. After all, the future is yours.”

The competition is looking for poems that explore how life across the universe is connected, whether through the cosmos, nature, the climate, the digital world, or how language and art connect us as humans. The competition is open to young people aged 4-18, who can submit a poem or an animated Scratch project (or both).

Top winners will have the chance to see their work featured in a a major live show that will tour the UK in the spring as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put young voices at the heart of one of the biggest arts celebrations in the last half a century. Commended winners will receive talent development opportunities.

A range of resources to inspire students taking part are available on The Poetry Society website.

Find out more and enter online

6 January 2022