The youngest ever Young Poet Laureate for Worcestershire has been announced, following the final at The Hive on Sunday (14 January).
Rachel Evans, 13, a student from Woodrush High in Wythall, saw off strong competition from the other 10 finalists, to take the 2018 title with her poems 'NATO' and 'Prisoner: DF8421'.
The runners up were Sophie Green aged 17 from Redditch, Dani Ncube aged 15 from Bromsgrove and Heather Rodgers aged 16 from Pershore.
The judges included outgoing Young Poet Laureate, Oakley Flanagan, who was alongside current Birmingham Poet Laureate, 'The Poet with Punch' Matt Windle and Gail O'Malley from Worcestershire County Council, Children Families and Communities Directorate.
Rachel Evans, winner of the Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate for 2018, said: "The final was unbelievable. I met so many different people whose poems were about such different things that I didn't want to leave by the end of it. I heard my name and I was speechless. I am the youngest ever Poet Laureate and that smashed my doubts completely. I am so excited to be added to a list of such successful and passionate young poets and hope that I am, someday, as successful as they have been".
The MC at the event was performance poet Spoz, aka Giovanni Esposito.
All finalists were presented a certificate by Hannah Needham, Assistant Director for Children, Families and Communities at Worcestershire County Council.
Catherine Driscoll, Director of Children's, Families and Communities, who presented the winning trophy said: "It was a real honour to be part of the selection of the Young Poet Laureate for Worcestershire 2018, and to see first-hand the incredible talent and passion for poetry that the county's young people have. Well done to all involved."
Cllr Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities added: "The young people of Worcestershire, entrants and finalists should be really proud of their efforts in this year's competition. The event continues to go from strength to strength, and always brings a smile to the faces of all involved."
The 'Word Up' competition is open to anyone aged between 13 and 19 living in, or going to school, college, university or a youth club in the county.
This year's competition required poets to submit two poems, one on the subject of 'Freedom' and another on a subject of their choice.
Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate competition, run by WCC's Libraries & Learning Service and Arts Service, is an annual poetry competition for young people aged 13-19, designed to encourage young people to express themselves through poetry and to support the development of young poet talent across the County. During their reign the winner of YPL will write and perform 5 commissions to a variety of audiences and will be an advocate for poetry, particularly amongst young people. Performance coaching is available to all finalists and additional mentoring is available to the winner.
For more information please contact Natalie McVey on 07876 144905.
And here are Rachel's poems:
By Rachel Evans
Bravo was always sceptical, never one to be theoretical,
Yet really down to earth.
He took Polaroids, loved art class and
Liked to draw his backdoor bypass,
But only before all the cars would crash.
You see, Alpha would come home drunk at six
Marking up the apartment bricks
With all that day's pent up anger
Only Bravo's face could fix.
And at night Bravo's features became phonetic spectaculars,
Local boxing ring regulars
And his bruises looked not quite but nearly perpendicular
To a charming crooked smile
That was never crooked before.
Bravo felt like he deserved it though,
Well Alpha obviously didn't think he was perfect so,
He blamed it on himself for simply being NATO.
But even then,
When Alpha would lie and say 'I love you'
Bravo would reciprocate,
An unwilling mistake,
He found that missing consonant when it was that little bit too late.
See, that 'Delta' on the end of love actually did matter
And in the face of life and death Bravo would most probably choose the latter,
But when Delta landed face first on his doorstep,
They shared quiet chatter,
And while Alpha lay hung over in bed,
Bravo fell in love again.
Leaving Alpha was harder than he'd thought before,
But what he had with Delta was too good to not be fought for,
So while Alpha was babysat by the Magistrate’s Court of Law,
Delta helped Bravo forget all the screaming, swears and knife draws.
And after a while Bravo no longer covered his face when they argued,
He could come home when he wanted, he no longer had a curfew,
And maybe it was the fact that he didn't have to give Delta his phone when he was told to,
That he was totally and utterly whipped for the smell of the new boy’s perfume.
Or the way Delta wasn't lying when he said it was going to be okay,
Or the way they both had crooked smiles,
That were crooked opposite ways.
By Rachel Evans
Hyping up rhymes
Like knife crime.
On police parole.
Cigarette chaining death rates
Nicotine breathing jailbait
Already picking cell mates
East side alley mandate.
Trigger happy fingertips
Far too early prison trips
Home escapee backstreet kips
Costcutter vodka lips.
Refuge on crack house sofas
Slamming doors on social workers
Park bench and basement smokers
Poker playing needle toters.
The front room attraction on a TV screen
Channel 4 reports the life sentence of gang delusional teen
Unseen and a recruited has been
Since the darling age of thirteen.