2022 Poetry Competition winners announced

23/03/2022 by Leah Masters

Poetry competition winners

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 & 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.

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.

The judges included Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Childs, previous winner and Senior Lecturer at Newman, Richard Goode and Stephen Pihlaja, Reader in English Language and Linguistics.

Professor Peter Childs, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Newman University commented “The judging panel were delighted to see so many fine entries to the competition this year. It is one of those really valuable opportunities for students, staff and alumni to share in an annual event and show their imaginative and expressive talents. We would like to thank each person who participated and congratulate the winners once again.”

This year, we are awarding prizes to our winner and three runners up. The judges have chosen the poem entitled ‘Fear is a bubble of one’, written by student Deborah Jan Ritchie as winner.

Deborah commented, “‘Fear is a Bubble of One’ was written in response to my experiences of being a patient in an HDU/ICU hub at the height of the pandemic. I also wanted to explore our fear of Covid, which seemed to show itself through isolation, denial and distress about what was being lost, not just in terms of illness and death but also in terms of how we were forced to live and then relate this to historical pandemics. I have enjoyed writing songs and poetry since I was a child. It is a great honour to win this prize as a student at Newman University.”

Read Deborah’s winning entry

The first runner-up poem ‘The New Jerusalem’, was written by Benjamin Moore, Library Service Advisor at Newman University.

Ben commented, “I love that Newman runs this competition as it can be hard to find space to celebrate the creative side of our community here. I usually write very silly poetry so it’s great for a less-silly one to get some appreciation. The New Jerusalem is sort of a blend of nostalgia about London, where I grew up, and the vision of God’s city in the book of Revelation. Hopefully, it conjures up a little glimpse of hope in the middle of difficult times. All the tears get wiped away eventually!”

Read Ben’s entry.

The second runner-up poem ‘The Visitor’, was written by Scott Porter, Senior Lecturer in Secondary ITE at Newman University.

Scott commented, “My Poem was titled “The Visitor” and was an attempt to tackle the topic of death in some way by describing the process in terms of some of the mysticism associated with the Grim Reaper and the folklore rituals associated with his coming. Poetry is often quite a personal thing and it feels good to have recognition that others can also appreciate its content in some way. Poetry is also somewhat of an overlooked literary genre in the current era and it was nice to know that the writing of poetry is still being encouraged and publicised at Newman.”

Read Scott’s entry.

This year we selected a third runner-up poem entitled ‘Trinity House Colloquy’, written by student Deborah Butler.

Read Deborah’s entry.

A presentation to congratulate the winners took place at Newman University on Monday 21st March.