THE BETJEMAN POETRY PRIZE 2019

On Thursday 3rd October, we announced 13 year-old Fin Perry as the winner of the 13th Betjeman Poetry Prize. After beating thousands of entrants with his emotive poem, The Corridor, the prestigious win sees him become the station’s fifth ‘St. Pancras Poet Laureate’.

Held in the station to mark National Poetry Day, the prestigious Betjeman Poetry Prize award ceremony saw Fin, read his poem aloud beneath the station’s famous statue of poet Sir John Betjeman. His new role as ‘St Pancras Poet Laureate’ will see him write three further poems for the station throughout the coming year.

Thousands of entries from across the country were whittled down to a shortlist of just six young hopefuls, who read their poems - created around the theme of ‘place’ - to a crowd of poetry lovers and fellow competitors. The Betjeman Poetry Prize award ceremony also saw TS Eliot prize winner Hugo Williams performing live as part of the celebrations, as well as hosting guests including Andrea Reece – the architect of National Poetry Day, Lauren Child, John Lyons and Gareth Binns, CEO of the Institute of Imagination, who gathered to listen to the impressive poetry from some of the country’s youngest poets. 

Led by John Betjeman’s granddaughter (and Prize Director) Imogen Lycett Green and judged by multi-award winning poet Wendy Cope and her husband and co-judge, Lachlan Mackinnon, the annual Betjeman Poetry Prize attracts entries from talented 10-13 year-olds across the UK - all competing to impress the judges with their poetry writing skills. This year’s winner joins previously celebrated young poets including 12 year-old Ide Crawford with her poem, The Moors and Amineh Abou Kerech, 13, who beat thousands of entries with her poem, Lament for Syria.

The Corridor

The door slides shut and I gaze, eyes wide,

At the wire-crossed window, far too high.

Stay there, said Granny, this will all be over soon.

Hold onto Teddy, you won't feel alone.

So I stand on tip-toes, brave boy, chin up

Pulling on Teddy's ear for luck

If I learn my times table, Teddy I say

My mummy will come home today

 

One times one is one.

I remember the last time Mum

Was home, smelling of lip gloss and cookie dough.

Watch the oven, she said. Don't lick the bowl.

But I wore her out, and she lay.

While the shadows slid back into day,

On the sofa still, white face, grey hair.

Just too tired for the stairs.

 

Two times one used to be two.

Fingers on the ledge, peeking through.

Grown-ups huddled together, pulling out tubes.

Seagull squawking of seaside shoes

Are they getting her ready? Packing her case?

I hope she remembers the card I made.

'Get Well Soon' in red felt-tip

Heart made of glitter, I love you. Kiss, kiss.

 

Footsteps, running now. Gowns like wings.

Crowding the passage, door closing again.

Granny crying. 'Please God, do something'.

Does she mean me? Did I look too soon? I

s it because I licked the spoon?

Will Granny be mad? My tummy in knots

Oh no! Teddy's ear is coming off.

 

Two times two. Is it six or four?

I stand, my face pressed to the door.

Then out they file, I'm pushed aside.

The door left open, far too wide.

Too bright, too silent. And I can see her there

Lying still, white face, white hair.

And next to the bed, forgotten on the ground

My Get Well card, Glitter face down.

Fin Perry (13), St. Pancras Poet Laureate 2019/20

 

 

2018 Betjeman Poetry Prize

St Pancras International announced 12 year-old Ide Crawford, as the winner of the 12th Betjeman Poetry Prize, and the station’s fourth ‘St Pancras Laureate’.

Learn More

Track Record Poetry Event

10 local school children from Argyle Primary and Richard Cobden Primary delighted St Pancras International’s passers-by with live poetry readings performed as part of a brand-new poetry initiative named Track Record.

Learn More