New collaborative works by young people

In November, The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network launched a call for young creatives worldwide to collaborate with each other.

In the face of lockdowns and social distancing in many countries across the world, the challenge aimed to give young people another way to connect. This challenge was like no other on Young Poets Network, and asked poets, artists and musicians aged 25 and younger to work together. The challenge offered lots of ways into beginning a collaboration, including a series of interviews with experienced collaborators such as SJ Fowler, Yomi Sode, Astra Papachristodoulou and more. Find the challenge here.

More than one hundred young people from India to the USA teamed up and submitted poems, videos, songs, collages, zines and more to the challenge.

Today, the winners were announced: you can find them below. Congratulations to the winning and commended artists, and the longlisted artists. Young Poets Network wants to thank everyone who took part in this unusual challenge, especially Long Row Primary School in Derbyshire who entered more than twenty of their pupils, and hopes you all keep collaborating.

First prize: Anime Boyz by Lydia Wei, Em Power, Adelina Rose Gowans, Sanjula Narayanan, Ann Dinh, Anne Rong, Carly Chan, Mae, Melissa Sibilla, Mica Pascual, Nina Joseph, Peach and Sherri Keys (zine) 

In her introduction, Em writes, “This zine started as a joke between me and my co-editor and bloomed into something incredibly cool. The joke was something along the lines of: haha, aren’t poetry zines meant to be about, like, artsy topics, what if we did one on anime boys? Then the joke became, no, imagine if we actually made a whole zine just about how much we love anime boys. Then the joke became: I need to make a collage of Tetsuo from Akira surrounded by 100 gecs lyrics lest I die unfulfilled.” The zine uses illustration and poetry to explore love, grief, growing up, fandom and more.

Second prize: Cassie and the Flood by Kia Matanky-Becker and Miles Simpson (song)

Kia and Miles say: “We met at Goldsmiths University of London where Kia studied Fine Art and Miles studied Music. Before lockdown, we saw each other most days and regularly collaborated on different projects. During the lockdown, we wanted to find a way of staying inspired and progressing our creative practices so we started sending each other poems and music to respond to. We are interested in cross-disciplinary discourse and believe that everyone has their own creative languages and it is when these disparate languages are brought together that the most dynamic and truthful stories are told. This piece is part of a series that we have been working on entitled Children’s Stories For Children In Their Twenties. Due to the coronavirus, many young people have lost their jobs and have had to move back to their family home. There is a feeling that we have been forced to regress to childhood. However, our work aims to show that development isn’t linear, and there is a lot to be learnt from that imaginative space of childhood. Kia’s writing takes inspiration from magical realism writers such as Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez and Miles takes significant influence from 1970’s Jamaican dub and 20th Century European noise composers. For this piece, he attempted to create musical accompaniment that would capture the stylistic traits of artists such as Hugh La Caine, King Tubby and Scientist (Hopeton Overton Brown), whilst reflecting the sensitivities expressed in Kia’s vocal performance. We hope that our work synthesises our influences to create something uniquely our own.”

Third prize: Wings by Lauren Lisk and Simran Misir (song)

Lauren and Simran say, “We met in Year 7 when we both started secondary school, and have been close friends ever since.

When collaborating, we both worked on the melody and lyrics of our song. After we had decided what chord progression we were going to use, we each composed different sections of the song, writing both the melody and lyrics. Then, we played our compositions to each other, and we made any small changes that could improve the sections we had written. After putting together all the sections, the song was starting to come together. We both had a go at writing a bridge, and when we couldn’t decide which one to use, we realised that it would be much more effective to sing both parts on top of each other. Once we had figured out the outline of the song and worked out the verses and chorus, we added harmonies by ear to add texture. We composed with only a piano and decided to keep the accompaniment simple, with just a chord accompaniment and a repeated riff that plays throughout the song on the piano.

‘Wings’ for us, is all about feeling like you need to please others over yourself, and putting other people first. We didn’t write it about a single experience but rather about how it feels to lose your confidence when others try to knock you down, and the journey of finding and reconnecting with yourself again. The song really flowed out of the both of us and we had so much fun writing it and experimenting with the vocals on the track; we hope you enjoy!”

Follow the links to find the commended works:

Bad Vibes Only by Libby Russell, Emily Fletcher, Celia Mostachfi and Lydia Wei (zine)

The perfect caress has a velocity of three centimetres per second by Jack Cooper and Daniel Shao (music and poetry)

Confession by Priya Abularach and Hannah Beitchman (art collage and poetry)

A Tale of Two Counties by Ellora Sutton and Hannah Hodgson (zine)

Mushroom Garden by GM Kuhn and SZ Shao (zine)


Hoverfly by Kaycee Hill and Tyrone Hall (music and poetry)

Petrichor by Divya Mehrish and Kaitlyn Meade (collage)

Eleanor by Elsie Hayward and Katie Hull (collage)

Smalls by Katherine Stockton and Elizabeth Kemball (illustration and poetry)

My Brother and his ASD by Siyona Shetty and Anusha Bhosle (illustration and poetry)

Growing Pains by Shreya Vikram and Anukriti Srivastava (illustration and poetry)

Entreinte by Ella-Mae Ernshaw and Godlieve De Bree (visual art and poetry)

Reindeer by Isaac Smith and Albert Newton (illustration and poetry)


Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25. Here you’ll find 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. We also bring you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers. Young Poets Network is for everyone interested in poets and poetry – whether you’ve just started out, or you’re a seasoned reader or writer. Teachers and parents might find it a useful resource, too.

Found out more about The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network.

29 January 2021