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The students won the honour of getting to see their poems in print in the anthology Seeing Things after impressing Ripon Poetry Festival competition judges.
In addition, RGS students will be creating an innovative ‘crowd poem’ for the city’s third annual poetry festival, which runs from October 10 to 13 and attracts a stellar line-up of literary names.
Students from all years have found a real passion for poetry after immersing themselves in a number of creative writing exercises and workshops.
They have been working with performance poet Ash Dickinson as well as the school’s English department to create poems about school life and living in Ripon and have also combined ideas and phrases to make a collaborative epic poem which will be performed at the anthology launch night on October 12.
James Turner, a former RGS student and one of the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year in 2017, will also be performing at the festival, alongside other poets and authors including comedian Kate Fox and renowned Malawian writer Jack Mapanje.
Organiser Andy Croft said the festival – which features everything from open mic performances to pop-up poetry, readings, talks and workshops – mixes grass-roots local poetry with big names from other places: “People of all ages can engage with it.”
Among the RGS students featured in the new anthology is Elizabeth Whitaker, 15, of Low Grantley, who won first prize in the age 11-16 category with her poem The Fall, which she will be reciting at the book launch.
“I was really pleased to win,” said Elizabeth, who explained that her poem is about people who generalise about the young: “They don’t really understand our motives or what we want, or about us being average but at the same time being exceptional without anyone really knowing.”
Imogen Hubbard, 16, from Ripon, won second prize in the 11-16 category with her poem, Shards of Time, while Ronnie Mann, 15, and Olivia Whild, 15, both from Ripon, won second and third prizes in the schools and colleges category for their poems Pigeons and Storm.
Two other students, Anna Millions, 15, from West Tanfield, and Zoe Williams, 15, from Brearton, will also have their poems, One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure and Growing Up, published in the anthology, which costs £6.
Growing in popularity each year, the festival’s rising reputation befits a city where the likes of Wilfred Owen, Lewis Carroll and Daniel Defoe all found inspiration for their writings.
Mr Croft added: “The Ripon Poetry Festival is organised in the belief that poetry belongs to everyone. Every year local poets send us some remarkable poems. We are very pleased to be able to publish so many of these poems in the festival anthology and this year’s, Seeing Things, promises to be the best yet.’
*Seeing Things, which includes seven poems by students aged 11-16, will be available to buy at the book launch on Saturday 12 October, 7.30pm at Holy Trinity Church. It will also be on sale at all the festival events and afterwards at the Little Ripon Bookshop. For more information visit: www.riponpoetryfestival.co.uk