Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2016

On National Poetry Day, 6 October 2016, the winners of this year’s Foyle Young Poets Award were announced at a sparkling ceremony at the Southbank Centre. Judges Malika Booker and W.N. Herbert chose 15 winners and 85 commended poets from over 6,000 poets and over 10,000 poems. We are very pleased to announce that Emily Franklin, Year 12, was selected as one of the 15 winners, and Emily Breeds, Year 12, was highly commended.

The Foyle Young Poets 2016 anthology will see the top 15 poems in print, with the commended poems being published in an online anthology. Read more on The Poetry Society website here.

Emily and Emily have give permission to have their poems published below. Well done to both girls.


Apotelesma - Emily Franklin

Here we are. I’m half-sober and you’re stamping
                on a cigarette like it killed the last person you

Here we are. Outside the party. No stars. Only street lamps.
                                Talking about other people’s
                                                tragedies to avoid
                                                                our own truth.
                                                And you love me.

In a push you up against the wall kind of way.

                                In a put my tongue in your mouth kind of way.
                You say.
                                Your tongue is sharp,
eyes spark.

I am going to paint you something beautiful.
                                I tell you.
                And you leave me outside in the dark.

I am painting you the darkness.
I will paint in the stars.

Aquarius: Stop running away.

You’re at a concert. Music flashing, bodies pulsing.
                                This darkness. It hides within bursting
                                                lights, your screaming friends.
                This could be something beautiful.

You text me.
                I want to drown you in milk.
                                Peel away the innocence like the shell on a snake.

                And I love you. And I want to bathe you in honey,
                                wash your feet in my hair.

Aquarius: Everything will be okay.

Here we are. At the edge of a roof. Why do I always
                                                seem to meet you
                                in moonlight?

I am painting the lines between the stars
that join the abyss in meaning.
I am painting you.

       my horoscope,
                my lucky stars.
You are always too far away.

Aquarius: Breathe.

Here we are. The high street, to long after
                                the lamps have turned on.
                And you are close enough to touch.
                And you are still too far away.
Here we are.
                                The only thing left that we haven’t tried.
We are meeting in the middle.
                                Constellations colliding.

Here we are.
                                Silhouettes in your kitchen,
                                shadows on your stairs.
We are painting in the stars.

Sagittarius: Everything is okay.

The stars tell us nothing.
The stars are merely pretty.

You are my abyss.

You are boundless.
And nothing can hold you down.


Sonder - Emily Breeds

There is a part of the station
where trains once blinked
in and out of existence:
a necessary part of most peoples' lives
(but easily overlooked).
If you stood on the platform
and watched the flash
of red and blue and grey,
you would briefly
touch eyes with a stranger;
if you blinked,
you'd miss a whole host of them.
No one thinks anything of it
when it happens.
But all those people you tersely
connected with, all those people
with their own stories
as complex as yours,
the person in the blue jacket
holding onto a bar because
all the seats have been used up,
the girl holding a lukewarm
polystyrene coffee cup,
the light of a window
whilst you walk down a dark street,
the screeching rush of headlights that nearly hit
you as you hurry across the road,
mind clouded with the terror
of what could have happened
had you lingered
any longer,
they're all gone now.
The trains are as still as winter air,
forever waiting in their dim tunnels.
And our lives are all moving along the same track,
united with need of shelter and survival.