Poetry Winners and ICAS results

By Esther Kristel | Posted: Tuesday September 25, 2018

Congratulations to Poppy Haywood and Megan Macdiarmid for gaining first and second place in the Junior section of this years WriteNow Poetry Competition.

WriteNow is an annual city wide poetry competition open to secondary school students from years 9 to 13. 

Poet, novelist, editor, and this year’s judge, Sue Wootton, said at the commencement of the competition that “I’d be looking for poems that connect me to the poet’s vision of what it means to be alive, here and now, in Ōtepoti/Dunedin.”

Of the place-getters, Sue stated: “Your work was tightly crafted and distilled; your lines carry exactly what they need to bear – no more and no less. Because of this, they do that extra thing I was looking for, use the amazing energy of language to make a poem that rings true, and keeps on getting truer with each reading”.

Both Poppy’s and Megan’s winning entries were created earlier this year as part of their Poetry Anthology Project in English, of which poetry writing was one of the main components (along with reading, research and presenting). Entering a poem into the WriteNow competition was the final optional stage of the project, with stunning results for Megan and Poppy.

Poppy’s poem ‘Dysfunctional Placentae’ won first place in the junior competition, for which she received $100, and Megan’s ‘A Blank Canvas’ was placed second in the junior competition, with a $70 prize. 

Both girls also read alongside established poets at Dunedin’s National Poetry Day event on 24 August at the City Library, received book tokens courtesy of the University Book Shop, and will be invited to be interviewed and podcast by Otago Access Radio’s Youth Zone. Additionally, all placed poems will be eligible for publication as a ‘Parking metre Poem’ - a Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature initiative.

‘Dysfunctional Placentae’

by Poppy Haywood

I can shed my face

The way a snake can shed its skin

Layers upon layers upon layers

So many masks even I don’t know where to begin

For now it is just a habit

After years and years and years

To wear so many masks

That no one will ever see my tears

But I wasn’t always this way

It was just something I learnt to do

The way riding a bicycle

Is just something you’re taught to do

Yet I had no teacher

I was completely self-taught

So I had no one to teach me

When to wear a mask and when not

So I made one for every minute

Of my unimportant life

Until I could move between them

Smoother than any knife

And if you cut my body in two

You’d find I have no centre

Instead, in its place, you’d find,

A thousand dysfunctional placentae

Hundreds and hundreds of fleshy casings

Each one with it’s own baby thought

That I kept so deep under my layers

For fear of getting caught

‘A Blank Canvas’

by Megan Macdiarmid

It’s like turpentine

The foul-smelling liquid

That wipes the canvas clean

Resisting smears of memory

Taint the innocence of emptiness

Leaving you to join the dots that don’t connect

And when you can’t quite remember

Why the toaster’s in the fridge

And the worried whispers of family members

Disorient and confuse you

And the home you’ve lived in forever

Has to go

Close your eyes

Let the colours that lurk behind your eyelids

Be the memories you have lost

And fill your canvas

Once more

ICAS Writing Exam 2018

A big congratulations to Ava Reid in Year 9, and Sophie Bradfield, Cindy Chou, Paxton Hall, and Millie O’Neill in Year 10 for gaining Distinction in the ICAS Writing Exam.  

Congratulations to the following students for their impressive results in the recent ICAS English Exam:

Nico Alvarez Rey-Virag (Year 9) - High Distinction

Bill Campbell (Year 9) - Distinction

Ava Reid (Year 9) - Distinction

Louisa Franklyn (Year 9) - Distinction

Paxton Hall (Year 10) - Distinction

Jasper Seddon (Year 10) - High Distinction

George Hyink (Year 10) - Distinction

Viviane Dalphin (Year 10) - Distinction

Cindy Chou (Year 10) - Distinction

Megan MacDiarmid (Year 10) - High Distinction

Charis Bell (Year 10) - High Distinction

Rebecca Dalphin (Year 11) - Distinction

Casper McGuire (Year 12) - Distinction

A grade of High Distinction places a student in the top 1% of participants for their year level in New Zealand, and a grade of Distinction places a student in the next 10% of participants for their year level in New Zealand.