2021 Poetry Competition winners announced

07/04/2021 by Sinead Staunton

Newman University’s annual poetry competition has drawn to a close and the winners have now been chosen.

The Dr Graham McFarlane and T E Murphy Prize for Poetry, invites staff, students and alumni of Newman University to enter their poems and share their creativity.

Graham and Terry were the first Editor and Deputy Editor of Newman’s original Poetry Magazine in academic year 1968-69; and to mark the 50th anniversary of Newman’s opening the poetry competition was launched in 2018, and now continues annually.

Numerous entries were received this year with many staff, students and alumni showing their talents for creative writing as various topics were covered within the entries.

Professor Peter Childs, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Newman University commented “It was great to see so many entries to the poetry competition from students, staff and alumni. Myself and the other members of the judging panel commented on the high standard of the entries we received and we would like to thank each person who participated and congratulate the winners once again.”

The judges included Dr Graham McFarlane, Mr Terry Murphy, Professor Peter Childs, and previous winner and lecturer at Newman Richard Goode.

This year, the judges chose the poem entitled ‘The Unwilds’ written by staff member Emily Walton as the winner.

Emily commented “I’m delighted to have won this competition for the second year running.  It’s a great opportunity to have my work read by critical, impartial judges.  I’ve always enjoyed all sorts of wordy pursuits, and I wrote The Unwilds as a way of looking through a magnifying glass at the close links that garden plants have for me with nostalgia for a time when I didn’t have to think so deliberately about ‘nature’ as a distinct part of my day-to-day life, while at the same time putting to good use some of the words that have been disallowed when I tried to play them in online Scrabble.”

View the winning entry.

The first runner-up was written by Lara Callaghan, a History alumna of Newman University, graduating in 2019, and her poem was entitled ‘On Golden Pond’.

Lara commented “I’m just delighted and elated to be recognised in the competition! I wanted to enter the competition because I think, during times like these, creativity – in any way shape or form – is cathartic for us, and the ability to conjure up a whole different character and history in a few simple lines offers a simply escapist joy during dark times!”

View Lara’s entry.

The second runner-up was written by Bethel Levien, a recent Criminology graduate, with her poem called ‘Behind the Morning’.

Bethel commented, “‘Just focus on your one thing and everything else will follow.’ These are the words by one of my greatest inspirations, Tyler Perry, who helped me understand what it is to find your skeleton key and open as many doors possible with it. I entered this year’s Newman Poetry Prize after accidentally coming across it and figured it was yet another door waiting to be unlocked. I also entered in 2018 and didn’t place at all. However, now, having accepted creative writing as something I love and hope to do forever, I see this is yet something else confirming what it is to be focused, persistent and ambitious. Thank you for this opportunity to showcase my poem!”

View Bethel’s entry.

A presentation to congratulate the winners will take place later this year.