Student’s Poem shortlisted by Poet Laureate

Posted by Suzanne Alexander


We are delighted to share the exciting news that Charlie Hamilton in Year 11 has been shortlisted in the Armistice 100 Prize for Schools Poetry Competition organised by the University of Lincoln.

Congratulations to Charlie on this fantastic achievement! Mrs Mullowney, English Teacher will accompany Charlie and Mrs Hamilton to the special event today, Thursday 15th November, where Carol Ann Duffy will announce the competition winners and launch the book containing the winning and shortlisted poems. As a shortlisted poet, Charlie’s poem will feature in the book.

The University received 544 poems and many were outstanding entries. Every one of them was read by the Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy and her fellow judges. The judges were extremely Carol Ann Duffyimpressed with the quality of the poems received. The very best will be included in a collection which will be published with a foreword by Carol Ann Duffy. To be included in the book is an achievement in itself for the featured poets. The University are very grateful to all teachers, parents and, of course, all the young writers themselves who took up this challenge.

At the awards ceremony, winning poems will be read out by the judges and prizes and certificates presented to winning and highly commended poets. The Armistice 100 Prize for Schools Poetry prizes are £300 to the winning poet and £300 to their school for First Place (£200 for 2nd; and £100 for 3rd place respectively) in each of the three age categories (9-12 years; 13-16 years; and 17-18 years).

Mrs Mullowney took ten Year 10 students in late May to Lincoln University to participate in a workshop with Carol Ann Duffy.  Dame Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain’s Poet Laureate in May 2009. She read three of her poems “Last Post”, “Christmas Truce” and “A Crow and A Scarecrow”.  She then explained the choices she’d made in the poems to create meaning. She gave the students some tips in how to write poems and they came up with some ideas around the idea of Armistice 100 which is a competition organised by Lincoln University. Two students Benjamin Ashcroft and Charlie Hamilton entered the competition and below is Charlie’s shortlisted poem.

We are very proud of your amazing achievement Charlie!


A Chance Encounter with Fate, Charlie Hamilton Y11DSC_0013

Around the corner of nowhere,
a cabaret with no name
served abstract nouns,
who only longed to drink
and watch broken shadows dance through the night.


A blockade of silver smoke
erased the air of its certainty.
She lowered the cigarette from her lips,
Heaven’s last true mouthpiece.
Her name was Fate;
A philosopher of the universe.


He was called Coincidence.
He bared a simple, handsome face,
yet he welcomed the cabaret
with a smile of reliance.
A gentleman of
Coincidence stood, a figure of logic.


the oxymoron collided calmly,
a crashing wave upon an unyielding cliff.
The distance between them was small, slight,
yet it created a masterpiece of
tension and power.
His greeting was abrupt, sudden, charming,
“What are the chances?”
Fate turned slowly, she rolled her eyes,
“Oh please, this was meant to happen.”


The power struggle
that was once dormant
erupted carefully.
“It’s the logical way of thinking.”
“So what? Doesn’t mean you’re right.”
Fate and Coincidence,
An incompatible pair,
argued for dominance.


“Everything happens for a reason you know.”
“How naïve to think like that.”
The oral way of two ancient concepts
ate away at the night.
“It must be Fate.”
“No it’s just a coincidence.”


As the corner of nowhere became
the corner of somewhere,
and the sun exposed the
cabaret’s name,
an oracle and a rationalist,
bid their farewells after a night
of wit and fun.
“Perhaps we’ll meet again?”
“Oh, I’m sure we will.”