Bloodaxe Archive writing challenges – all winners now online

Image of the Bloodaxe Archive homepage: a circle in the centre with a book in it, surrounded by five circles: one with two square brackets, one with a triangle, one with a W, one with a segmented rectangle and one with a lightbulb

Over the past few months, The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network has been working with Newcastle University, asking young poets to delve into and respond to the digital Bloodaxe Archive.

We launched a series of four writing challenges, designed to lead young poets down new paths and to write in response to poems they found in the Archive. We also asked two young poets based in the North East to visit the physical Bloodaxe Archive and report back. Lauren Aspery and Caitlin Catheld Pyper‘s features explore what archives are (and aren’t), as well as a writer’s editing process, and how publishing works.

Hundreds of young poets from across the world have written, recorded and re-drafted hundreds of new poems in response to the Archive. Today, we published the winners and the longlist of the fourth and final challenge. Follow the links below to read the winning poems in these challenges.

  1. The Poetics of the Archive asked young poets to explore the digital Archive creatively, responding to its extensive catalogue of poems, drafts and resources
  2. White Space, written by Sinéad Morrissey, encouraged young poets to explore white space, inspired by poems in the Archive that use the page in innovative ways
  3. The Re-Re-Re-Drafting Challenge invited poets to choose a poem from the Archive and apply a series of creative re-drafting techniques to make it their own
  4. Take Note asked young poets to keep a notebook or photo journal for a week, and write a poem about what they’d noted down – this happened to coincide with lockdown, producing a unique insight into the lives of young people in March and April 2020

Part of the prize for the first-prize winners was to perform at the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Festival, which was sadly cancelled due to the lockdown. We look forward to celebrating these young poets in 2021.

19 June 2020