Winners of Keatsian challenge on Young Poets Network published

The Poetry Society is delighted to announce the winners of ‘The Weariness, the Fever and the Fret’: Writing Illness, Health and John Keats, a writing challenge on The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network as part of its Keats200 celebrations.

The challenge was set by Amy Mackelden earlier this year. Inspired by John Keats’s training as a surgeon and his writing about illness, young people worldwide aged 25 and younger were challenged to write poems that explored health, illness, self-care and Keats’ own writing.

The competition received nearly 400 entries from 22 countries worldwide, including Greece, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Australia and the USA. The Poetry Society congratulates everyone who entered this challenge, and thank them for sharing their work. Young poets opened up about a huge range of experiences with these topics, from hospital waiting rooms and caring for loved ones, to living through a pandemic. The winning poems explore grief, disabilities and illnesses, medicine and recovery from a variety of perspectives.

Congratulations to the winners:

1st prize: ‘The Darkness Falls at Thy Behest’ by Olivia Tuck
2nd prize: ‘I Wear a Set of Lungs as a Necklace’ by Hannah Hodgson
3rd prize: ‘Into the Tunnel (And Out Again)’ by Jude Leese
Commended: ‘tipping point’ by Kristine Ma
Commended: ‘For the Four Months I Was Too Depressed to Feed Myself’ by Sairah Ahsan
Commended: ‘Stolen Syllables’ by Freya Cook
Commended: ‘Ode to Mr Motivator’ by Ellora Sutton
Commended: ‘Migraine’ by Victoria Fletcher
Commended: ‘Love Poem to Stephen the Phlebotomist’ by Nadia Lines
Commended: ‘The Human Seasons’ by Alice Hill-Woods

Read the winning poems here.

The Poetry Society also congratulates the longlisted poets in this challenge:

Helena Aeberli, Lauren Aspery, Anna Bailey, Rachel Brooks, Grace Carter, Jack Cooper, April Egan, Katie Garrett, Mac Goodwin, Sarah Henderson, Kaycee Hill, Divya Mehrish, Rhona Mylne, Iqra Naseem, Mia Nelson, Brooke Nind, Sinéad O’Reilly, Veronica Shen, Elizabeth Thatcher, Maggie Wang and Eve Wright.

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

silhouette of John Keats in profileKeats200 is the bicentenary celebration of Keats’s life, works and legacy. Partnering with Keats House in Hampstead, The Poetry Society’s series of events and activities to mark the anniversary of the young poet’s passing unfolded through Winter 2020 and into Spring 2021. Find out more about our celebrations here.

27 April 2021