exetreme imagination 2014

'Poppies' Poetry Competition

exetreme imagination

Exeter’s festival of writing for and by young people

Writing is a powerful thing! Writing can start revolutions, end relationships, and seal binding promises. Writing can keep the past alive in our memory, it can interpret the present, and it can imagine and shape the future. Through writing we can make our most public statements, and express our most intimate thoughts.

exetreme imagination celebrates the power of writing. And especially the power of writing by children and young people and for children and young people. Uniquely, amongst children’s literature festivals, exetreme imagination brings together all the major arts and culture organisations in Exeter in a creative collaboration, bringing high-profile children’s authors into schools, communities and arts venues to work alongside young people, sharing their experiences as writers and engaging them in the power of the written word. At the same time, the festival inspires young people by using the arts as the imaginative springboard for writing, or as the medium through which writing can be reinterpreted and reframed.

Visit the Festival website: www.exetreme.org


‘Poppies’ Poetry Competition

As part of the exetreme imagination festival 2014, the Centre for Research in Writing ran a poetry competition for children and young people, which was judged by PGCE English students and Professor of English, Connie Ruzich, from the USA.  Since World War 1, the poppy has been a symbol of the loss caused through conflict - and in this anniversary year of the beginning of World War 1, we took conflict as the theme for our poetry competition.


The Colour of Sadness

A long time ago I played happily in fields of luscious green,
Under skies of dreamy blue.
Now all that lies before me, are trenches of muddy grey,
And all that is above me are skies of darkest black.

A long time ago I slept in peace,
Under skies of sparkling stars, by moonlit water.
Now I sleep on beds of the dead,
Surrounded by clouds of terror,
Lit by explosions of horrified emotions.

A long time ago, I sang songs around campfires of vivid orange,
Under sunsets of fiery pink.
Now I crouch, trembling with fear,
Under thick white smoky gas.
Surrounded by clouds of terror,
Lit by explosions of horrified emotions.

Lara Mae Hetherington
Dunsford Primary School
Winning entry, Under 11 age group

Exposure transformed

In the vast expanse of loneliness,
The deafening quietness,
In the unnerving darkness,
My knowledge of the salience,
Is confused.

Then a distant rumbling,
Like a giant grumbling,
And the sky begins a thundering,
And the rain begins its drenching,
Upon the trenches.

In the death-pit trenches,
As the pouring storm-rain drenches,
And the strong whirling wind wrenches,
At the solders benches,
In the dugouts.

The men wonder if they're dead,
As shells fly overhead,
And the bullets made of lead,
Mean the soldiers then are lead,
To their deaths.

Roxanne Henshaw,
Winning entry, Under 14 age group

The Munitionette

Somewhere near Somme, and not far from Calais
Lies a cold, curled-up carcass, all green with decay.
But who fired the mortar; who's going to hell?
No-one but me, for I made the shell.

Craters, mounds, and fallen-down trees
All of them put there with my TNT.
The fire, the heat, the blood-curdling smell
All because of me, for I made the shell.

We work, we toil, we bleed and we sweat,
To what end; who knows? We all try to forget
The men we have ended, the widows we've made
All a result of us plying our trade.

All over 'brave Blighty', girls like me may be found
Their skin stained with vitriol, a perpetual frown.
'What do you do?', you ask, 'really, do tell!'
Their face turns to ash, they say: 'I make the shells'.

Joe Weeks
Devonport High School for Boys
Winning entry, Under 18 age group