Erasure Poetry Challenge Winners Announced

The Poetry Society is delighted to announce the winners of the Young Poets Network Erasure Poetry Challenge, which was set and judged by poets Karen McCarthy Woolf and Julia Bird. This challenge asked young people aged 25 and younger worldwide to create erasure poems from any source text of their choosing, with a focus on the visual. The challenge uses as inspiration Tom Phillips’ A Humument and Karen’s work on Unwritten, a project which showcases the previously unheard Caribbean poetic voices from World War One.

Over one hundred thoughtful and ornately decorated erasure poems were submitted from seventeen countries worldwide, and from across the UK. The winning poems use texts as varied as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to explore themes of home, equality and memory.

Congratulations to the winners:

1st prize: ‘Homes of Flesh and Blood’ by Sarah Cassidy

2nd prize: ‘a vision’ by Maggie Wang

3rd prize: ‘Drowning My Heart in Dementia’ by Tara Awate

Commended: ‘Dear Daughter’ by Mallika John

Commended: ‘erased with a bunch of feathers’ by Charmayne Board

Commended: ‘Morning’ by Karishma Sangtani

Commended: ‘Our Light’ by Filippo Rossi

Commended: ‘She and He’ by Gemma Bird

Read the winning poems here and below.

The Poetry Society also congratulates the longlisted poets in this challenge:
Ren Chapman, Jack Cooper, Maddi Crease, Miriam Culy, Fajar Kayani, Nivetha Nandakumar, Jesse Smith and Jessie Taussig

Find out more about the challenge and read the winning poems here.


The Poetry Society is working with Karen McCarthy Woolf on Unwritten, a project which showcases the previously unheard Caribbean poetic voices from World War One. The project began with a new anthology, and has developed into essays, podcasts, events and poetry films considering silenced voices. Karen has also been a poet in residence at UCLA’s Promise Institute for Human Rights, looking into how poetry and law can come together to help protect vulnerable people. This Young Poets Network challenge was inspired by both Unwritten and Karen’s work as writer in residence at UCLA.

Unwritten is co-commissioned by BBC Contains Strong Language, the British Council and 1418NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Young Poets Network

Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for poets aged 25 and younger worldwide. It publishes features about poets and poetry, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. Young Poets Network also brings you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers.

12 August 2021