Foyle Young Poet of the Year
Year 11 student Imi Beaumont has won the Foyle Young Poet of the Year competition 2020. Her poem, The sound of Shakespeare's women, was one of 15 winning poems chosen from 15,966 entries into this year's competition. Young writers from a record-breaking 118 countries entered the competition from as far afield as Afghanistan, Ecuador, Mozambique, North Korea and the Seychelles, and every corner of the UK.
The sound of Shakespeare’s women, by Imogen Beaumont
If Juliet was silenced
amongst a patriarchal nightmare and
Lavinia was two limbs down
with no tongue to tell their tale and
Ophelia was driven to madness
with no sense left to speak and
Cordelia was shunned by her father,
her pointless words falling on deaf ears and
Desdemona’s desperate truth
was shouted down by whispered lies,
Then Will’s trying to tell us something.
Imi said: "I was surprised but very excited to hear that I was one of the top 15 winners. My poem is about giving women a voice, which I was able to show through the stories of female protagonists in literature - winning this has given me the courage and means to express my own thoughts through writing. I'm looking to study English Literature at A-level, and then hopefully at university, and will be grateful for any support from The Poetry Society to enable me to do this. I'm also looking forward to finding out about any other opportunities that may arise."
Imi also revealed that her passion for literature was unlocked following an assembly at Churchill from her English teacher, Miss Cody, about Wuthering Heights. The assembly introduced her to the classics: from the gothic works of Emily Brontë to the sonnets and plays of Shakespeare which feature in her winning poem. Imi has devoured these works and they have fed her creativity.
Headteacher Mr Hildrew said: "When you read Imi's poem, you realise why it was selected as a winner: it's a really powerful piece, with a hugely important message that resonates from Shakespeare's time right up to the present day. We are are delighted for her, and so proud that her passion for literature was sparked here at Churchill. We can't wait to see what she will achieve next!"
You can read Imi's poem, alongside the other 14 winners and the 85 shortlisted poems, on the Poetry Society's website.