Forward/emagazine Student Critics Competition 2018

Welcome to the Forward/emagazine student critics competition, with separate categories for 14-16 year olds, 16-19 year-olds and teachers. Write a critical or creative response to one of the poems on the Forward Prizes for Poetry shortlist 2018 (see details below). We are delighted that this year Sinéad Morrissey will be the judge for the competition.

The Competition

What to Do:

  • Download the poems.
  • Read and think about them. (Check 'Barbara Bleiman's Top Tips' below.)
  • Choose one to write about.
  • Choose to write one of the following responses:
    • a critical appreciation of the poem (maximum 500 words)
    • a creative response in the form of a poem (maximum 30 lines), along with a reflective commentary on it (maximum 300 words).

How to Enter

How to Enter

  • Download the entry form.
  • Complete the entry form with your details. (Make sure you confirm that it is your own unaided work.)
  • Type (or cut and paste) your writing under ‘Entry’. Check you meet the word limits.
  • Save your entry form (with your writing), using this format: ‘CategoryAgeGroup-Name.docx’ (e.g. Creative16-19-JSmith.docx’).
  • Email your entry to web@englishandmedia.co.uk, using Forward/emagazine Student Critics Competition 2018 as the subject line.
  • Make sure your entry reaches us before the deadline of midnight on 31st July 2018. We will not be able to accept entries received after this time.

Categories and Age Groups

  • Creative 14-16 year-olds (i.e. KS4 student on 31st July 2018)
  • Critical 14-16 year-olds (i.e. KS4 student on 31st July 2018)
  • Creative 16-19 year-olds (i.e. 6th form student on 31st July 2018)
  • Critical 16-19 year-olds (i.e. 6th form student on 31st July 2018)
  • Creative Teachers
  • Critical Teachers

Timeline

  • Forward/emagazine Student Critics Competition launches: Thursday 24th May
  • Deadline for entries: midnight on 31st July 2018
  • Winners contacted: 11th September
  • Results announced online: 18th September
  • Forward Prizes for Poetry Awards Ceremony: 18th September
  • Results and winning entries (critical appreciation and creative response) in the 16-19 age group published in emagazine, December 2018

Prizes

  • Student winners in each category will receive £100 and two tickets to the Forward Prizes for Poetry Awards Ceremony (18th September 2018).
  • The winning teachers will receive two tickets to the Forward Prizes for Poetry Awards Ceremony.
  • All winners will be published on the English and Media Centre and Forward Prizes for Poetry websites. The winners of both the critical appreciation and creative response in the 16-19 age group will also be published in emagazine (December 2018).

     

Top Tips for Responding to Poetry

Here Barbara Bleiman offers tips on writing critically about poetry. She says:

There’s no mystery to great writing about poetry. In a nutshell it involves:

  • Taking seriously your genuine first responses – what immediately leaps out at you, what you notice as being special or unusual or different. If something seems odd, that’s often worth talking about.
  • Writing about what the real impact is on you – not what you think you should feel in reading a poem.
  • Being willing to explore complexity and ambiguity without pretending that everything is simple and obvious, at the same time as trying to come to a view of what is going on.
  • Distinguishing between minor details and important, highly significant aspects of what you see before you.
  • Allying discussion of language, style and form to meaning, rather than picking away at these things in a random way.

Here you can read all the winning and highly-commended entries in both the critical appreciation and creative response with reflective commentary categories.

From the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Collection shortlist

  • Vahni Capildeo: Day, with Hawk
  • Toby Martinez de las Rivas: The Great Storm
  • J.O. Morgan: from Assurances
  • Danez Smith: dinosaurs in the hood
  • Tracy K. Smith: Annunciation

From the 2018 Forward Prize for Best First Collection shortlist

  • Kaveh Akbar: Do You Speak Persian?
  • Abigail Parry: Girl to Snake
  • Phoebe Power: notes on climate change
  • Shivanee Ramlochan: Good Names for Three Children
  • Richard Scott: Dancing Bear