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Norwich teenager named among 15 best young poets in the world

Mathilda Armiger, who has been named one of the 15 Foyle Young Poets of the Year. Photo: Hayley Madden 2018

Mathilda Armiger, who has been named one of the 15 Foyle Young Poets of the Year. Photo: Hayley Madden 2018

Hayley Madden 2018

A Norwich teenager has been named one of the best young poets in the world, beating almost 6,000 others to claim the title.

Mathilda Armiger has been announced as one of the top 15 Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2018, after a tough competition which saw more than 11,000 poems entered from almost 6,000 people around the world.

They included entrants from Armenia, Botswana, Cambodia and Uruguay - and every post code in the UK.

Organised by The Poetry Society and supported by the Foyle Foundation, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award has this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.

It is one of the largest literary competitions in the world, and has kickstarted the careers of plenty of young poets.

Those in the top 15 will be invited to attend a residential writing course, or, depending on age, receive poetry workshops at their school.

Sixteen-year-old Mathilda triumphed with her poet Lobster Shift, which came a year after she was made a commended winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award in 2017.

She is currently a member of Engage! at the National Centre for Writing, based at Dragon Hall in Norwich city centre.

Competition judge Caroline Bird, a Foyle winner in 1999 and 2000, said: “The poems that embedded themselves in my mind were those with a strong, original idea. They jumped out because they felt new and vivid; cinematic and alive, like they weren’t documented on the page they were occurring on the page.”

Mathilda said she doesn’t know how she first got into writing, but said one day she would like to live in an abandoned lighthouse and publish a book.

The 15 winners included seven from London, and others from Surrey, Leeds and Sheffield.

The winning poem:

I want to mummify

your flesh you’re ablaze

beside my bag of bones

so I can’t sleep you’re so

still and I want to burn

your gold wreathed

limbs for slipping so

swift into the dripping

deep I want to kick

in your soft brinks if

you breathe so loud

one more time lining

your sagging smoker’s

lungs with the biblical

dust of my rented room

above the chinese shop I

want to take my grease

run hands down down

down your hot red mouth

slip in your wet gorge of

a neck let it squeeze my

fists in ecstasy I’ll crawl in

disappear amongst your

clotted viscera let me hide

for a while against your

spine and devour you from

the inside.

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