Poetry Happening Near You

Young Poet Laureate - Warwickshire

Young Poet Laureate 2018 - the winner!

After a fabulous day with Emma Purshouse and Roy McFarlane in Warwick on Saturday 20th January, Warwickshire Libraries have chosen the new Young Poet Laureate for 2018

She is Annabel Peet , who lives in Hampton Magna, and attends Stratford Girls Grammar School in Shottery. She is 16.

Follow the video link, if you want a flavour of the event : 


Annabel was chosen from four candidates - all girls, and all really good. But Annabel's poetry shone out, and had lots of promise. 

Here is her "Warwickshire" poem attached and also her poem on "freedom" - powerful stuff!. 

To Warwickshire 

My music contrasts the mood of my muse

As she restlessly calls for me to hurry and

Not waste my childhood thinking about

Things children should not think about.

She wants me to follow in the footsteps

Of those who went before me,

But find my own way using the map of

History and hindsight as a guide,

Not follow step for step a given path,

But choose my own and love her for

Giving me people and places and things,

Noises and lights she has found through experience.

I am not her only ward, and certainly not

Her first, for she has had years of learning,

Years of caring for and nurturing,

From a time before she was who she is today.

Oh, we have changed her,

Moved her body into a shape that

Fits who we want her to be each century,

Changing her hills into battlements,

And rivers into moats.

In the end, she makes bards of us all.

She has no care for her physical image.

She only wants us to know her,

As the decades and centuries of those

Who have passed before us knew her,

Who have loved her as

We love her now.

Though how anyone could love her 

As much as I do is a mystery to me,

For she is my guardian who has always

Shown me the path lined with roses,

Clipping thorns off each stem before

They touch me. She loves me in a way

They could never know,

In a way no person ever could.

She is my home.

Annabel Peet


Is it my body?

when did my body stop being my body?

when did the curve of my hips begin

to belong to a stranger; for their hands to

lie on without my permission or consent.

when did my thighs become some sex

object for a stranger to stare at; for them to marvel

at how they would look around their head

in their bed , as if I am not too fragile for these thoughts.

when did my chest become a haven

for a stranger; for them to dance their lips across

to the music of my cries calling for a

lost childhood of unselfconscious ease.


i was born in this body, so I thought that

i belonged to it and it to me,

but somewhere down the line they took my body

and made it theirs,

so answer me this :


was my body ever really my body,

or was it on loan to me under the false freedom of femininity?

Annabel Peet




Young Poet Laureate 2018

It's time to start thinking about Warwickshire's 2018 Young Poet Laureate! Applications can be submitted now.

The position of Young Poet Laureate is unique, giving the appointed person an opportunity to work with Warwickshire Libraries. Our poet laureate takes part in events and activities across the county under the mentorship of a professional poet. Warwickshire Young Poet Laureates have performed on the radio, on film, at festivals and led their own poetry workshops.

Are you aged 13 – 17?

Would you like to develop your poetry writing skills?

Could you perform to audiences?

Then apply to be Warwickshire’s Young Poet Laureate.

Warwickshire Young Poet Laureate 2018 (PDF, 804.65 KB) – application form.

Closing date is 17:00 Tuesday 31 October 2017, and  shortlisted applicants will be notified by Friday 1 December 2017.


And the new Young Poet Laureate for Warwickshire is...

Warwickshire Libraries are thrilled to announce that the position of Young Poet Laureate 2017 has been awarded to Emily Stephens of Rugby High School. Emily, who also lives in Rugby, successfully beat a high calibre of shortlisted candidates during a finals day hosted at Rugby Library on Saturday 21st January.
Current laureate Harry Jenkins will hand over the baton to Emily after a poetry reading at Warwick Library on Saturday 4th February. Harry, Emily and professional poet Emma Purshouse will share their poems during the event which starts at 11am for an audience of all ages to enjoy. 
Here's one of Emily's poems:

where are you? and why aren’t you coming back?

i saw spilt milk on your bedroom floor
soaking indistinguishable writings
that once i could have heard.
your deprivation call ringing through
my ears i sought
for the golden book i saw thrice
but it could not be found by my
weary eyes,
forcibly held open by the weight of
worn aviators.
where are you? and why aren’t you coming back?
i sat, pleading for your presence and
howling for your hand.
fading trains on the duvet cover
taking me to another land,
in which you slept beneath them
safely, in the proximity of my comfort.
where are you? and why aren’t you coming back?
i remember the misty sheets across
your eyes as they parted with dawn’s
whispers of fragility with only tone
and the secret creaks above me as
you tackled the stairs!
the orange of your vomit
and the silk of your hair
where are you? and why aren’t you coming back?
Emily Stephens

Could you be Warwickshire’s third young poet Laureate?

Are you aged between 13-17?

Do you write poetry and would you love to perform to an audience?

Would you like to develop your writing skills and promote poetry to other people?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then apply to become Warwickshire’s Young Poet Laureate. This honorary position is unique. It will give you the chance to work with Warwickshire Libraries and other organisations, taking part in events across the county.

If selected you will be presented with a certificate and book prizes. You will also be assigned a mentor; a professional poet who will support you with your writing.

“The Laureateship is a fantastic opportunity to develop as a poet, particularly as a performer, and will be a great motivator to anyone who wants to take their poetry to the next level.” Harry Jenkins, YPL 2016.

You need to:

  •  be 13-17 years old
  •  live or attend school or college in Warwickshire
  • submit four poems. Out of the four poems, one should be inspired by Warwickshire and one should be on the 2016 National Poetry Day theme of ‘Messages’.

Provide a Personal Statement:
Tell us in 250 words -

  • why you want to be Warwickshire’s first Young Poet Laureate
  • how you would promote poetry to a diverse range of people in the county.

The closing date for applications is 5pm Monday 7th November, and shortlisted applicants will be notified by Friday 1st December.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to perform in front of a panel of judges and an audience, at an event on Saturday 21st January 2017. Candidates will be judged on their poems, personal statement and performance.

How to apply:

Apply online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries or post the form available at any of our libraries, together with your four poems and personal statement to: Amy Merriott, Unit 20, Warwickshire Libraries, Montague Road, Warwick, CV34 5LT
For further information contact amymerriott@warwickshire.gov.uk