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My Norwich

Lord Mayor of Norwich announces his winning poets

Published on Tuesday, 21st February 2023

The Lord Mayor of Norwich Cllr Dr Kevin Maguire announced the winners of his poetry competition, at a small reception in his parlour yesterday (Monday 20 February).

Launched in October of last year, the Lord Mayor put out a call for submissions of poems on the theme of the River Wensum.

The city really did rise to the challenge, with 64 entries received – giving the Lord Mayor and other judges the really enjoyable, yet difficult, task of selecting the winners.

The winners

Madison aged 11 from Wherry School won the primary category with her acrostic entry: The Wensum, Oscar, also 11, of Norwich School was the secondary school winner with Reedbed Delight and Scott Barton won the adult category with Saturday Morning.

The Lord Mayor, speaking on what inspired the River Wensum theme said: “As Lord Mayor I am honoured to bear a number of titles, and the absolute best one is: The Admiral of the Wensum”. 

He added:

“Ecologically, The Wensum is one of the few chalk bed rivers in the country and the consequent alkaline state affects the kind of things that live and grow in the river. 

Pollution, however, can and does affect its delicate ecosystem. As Lord Mayor, and someone who studied Ecology at UEA in the early 1970s, I felt that it was incumbent on me to promote and protect our special river.”

The Lord Mayor and fellow judges Chris Gribble of The National Centre for Writing, The Sheriff of Norwich – Caroline Jarrold, and poet Shannon Clinton-Copeland “found the judging both fun and a challenge…we were impressed by entrants' consideration of environmental factors in the life of our river.”

The three winners will have their poems printed in Citizen magazine, which is published on the city council’s website in the second week of March and delivered to homes in the third week of March.

They were also presented with certificates and a £20 Jarrold gift voucher. Six people were selected as highly commended and they, and each of the entrants, will receive a certificate thanking them for taking part.

Special thanks goes to all the participants, The National Centre for Writing, Jarrold and writer and poet Shannon Clinton-Copeland. As well as one of the judging panel, Shannon recorded a video giving inspirational tips of writing an acrostic poem, which can be found on the Norwich City Council YouTube channel. 

Highly commended

 The six ‘highly commended’ entrants were:

  • Lucien and Josie Latter of 8th Norwich Sea Scouts
  • Ebonie aged 9 of Bignold Primary School
  • Aoibhe Conway aged 16 and a student
  • Katharine Hall and Matthew Couchman, in the adult category.

The winning poems 

Category: primary school

Madison, aged 11 – Wherry School

The Wensum
Water flowing quickly
Excited children walking next to the river
Noisy birds calling each other
Snowdrops growing in the wild
Under the long curvy bridge
Murky water that's as cold as snow.

Category: secondary school

Oscar, aged 11 – Norwich School 

Reedbed Delight
A quiet pinging from the reeds,
A rustle, faint but existent,
A rufous tail can just be noticed
Flicking, with persistence,
Then a bearded figure, like a tiny brown ghost
Slips from the curtain of phragmites.
It hauls itself up a sturdy pole of vegetation,
Slinking inconspicuously,
For this phantom of the marsh,
Many will never see.

Category: adult

Scott Barton

Saturday Morning
Tat, Tud, Eyn three winding lines
Of blue up our map combine,
They promise this, our slow egress,
These three who braid the Wensum tress.
You weaving one-way wanderer
You grass snake, bullhead ponderer
With moon-braced, broad-based tidal slack
You carried castles on your back.
Through sun shine shallows, oak leaf green
Blue sky, birch grey, brown trout gleam
With keen shoaled sight their gilded eyes
Watch light break golden from the skies.
In rings and wreaths they sieve and shatter
Galactic clouds of amoebic matter.
And on the bank its you and I,
We seek The Falls its summer, high,
Our masks are packed, we're desperate dry,
The water is calling and then some.
And before us now the final bend,
We bring with us our souls to mend,
To bind them now at this week's end,
To ourselves in the waters of Wensum.

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