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Three Scots teenagers win coveted Foyle Young Poets Award

Three Scots teenagers win coveted Foyle Young Poets Award

A trio of young Scottish poets have shone among thousands to win a prestigious international award for their work.

Teenagers Ian Macartney,16, from Linlithgow, Sophia Tait, 14, from Livingston and Magnus Dixon, 15, from Cruden Bay, have been named winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year, the largest and most distinguished competition for young poets in the world.

This year’s event attracted fierce competition with more than 12,000 poems entered from 69 countries, including Canada, China, New Zealand and the UK.

The three young Scots poets join 12 international winners who were named today at a ceremony in London marking National Poetry Day.

And for one of the poets, in particular, it has been an exceptionally exciting announcement.

"This is the third time in a row that I have won it," said Magnus with disbelief.

"I started writing poetry about three years ago for a school assignment and that got me going.

"I first won when I was 12 years old and I just can't believe that it has happened again and again."

Magnus, who celebrates his 15th birthday on National Poetry Day, said he was inspired to write his latest poem after meeting the baby daughter of one of his mentors.

"I wrote the poem for her daughter, Emily, inspired by the landscape she is about to grow up in," said Magnus.

"I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had won though, it was incredible to get the news."

Organised by The Poetry Society which was founded in 1909, Magnus and the rest of the winners will now attend a week’s residential creative writing course at a prestigious Arvon centre or receive a poet residency in their school.

Their poems will also published in the yearly winners anthology – 24,000 copies of which are sent to schools, arts organisations, opinion formers and poets across the world.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award has kickstarted the career of many of today’s most exciting new voices, including Sarah Howe, Helen Mort and Ahren Warner.

The winning poems wrestle with identity in all its guises, from national to personal to that of artificial intelligence, with judge Liz Berry remarking how "lively, ambitious and engaged with the world" they are, adding that these poems all contain "that hard to describe ‘zing’ of wonder and excitement you feel when you discover something really special".

Compass-Point Lullabies for Emily

-By Magnus Dixon, aged 15

North
Someone re-threads a fishing rod by torchlight
then re-beads the line with Ugie droplets.
Later he reels in floundering silver--
wraps it in newspaper then walks homewards.

East
Waves crack their knuckles on shadowed sea-walls
and suck their teeth through rust-ribbed lobsterpots.
At the sailing club, sails dry into the night.
A woman closes shutters like oak eyelids.

South
Instead of milk-pails, men pile up oil-drums
to blot the moon. Their hearts tick in time to
the spattering pipelines and rain on hard-hats.
They shine torches on skeins instead of helicopters.

West
Combine harvesters hum into the night--
spitting stems in wake across rutted earth.
Sparrows chorus with the farmer's whistles.
They guide him home, flitting between branches.

  (Magnus Dixon, Scottish poet)
via STV via STV

Two ways of painting the picture

-By Sophia Tait, aged 14

ultrarealism
There is a tall, straight vase on the table
full of yellow-topped orange tulips.
Two are tall, but one of those is bent
over the edge of the vase, dwarfing itself.
Three stand at medium height together,
with a small one tucked around the back,
and another, still smaller, in the very middle.
Rennie Mackintosh roses are drawn
in frosted white glass on one side of the thin vase,
their curving angles intertwining.
The water, misted with much-diluted flower food,
supports the slightly curved, soft,
and slender, pale-green stems.

impressionism
Pink-orange cups, coloured like a sorbet,
or a sunset, or rosy-tinted autumn trees,
full of yellow that's overflowed, staining the petals;
supported by slim, satiny, light-streaked stems,
curved like a swan's elegantly long neck-
but mute swans, since the wide-open flowers
appear to be singing, but no sound comes out.
They're all different heights, like a family, perhaps,
with their baby, trimmed tiny, nestled in the middle.
The sharp angles of the tall, thin vase, with the
strangetriangularity of it's up-down edges,
gently echo the the slightly softer lines of the roses
etched onto the glass by a permanent Jack Frost.

  (Sophia Tait Scottish Poet)
via STV via STV

The Snails Move Out

-By Ian Macartney, aged 16

Rain made the spiral houses
part away from each other
on gelatinous railways.
A town disbanded.

They migrated
across the pavement with
staircases on their backs.

Slugging through pools of their own body,
their Golden Ratios were crushed by feet
from above.

Living-rooms flooded in downpour,
a tear-drop apocalypse.
Fibonacci caved in.

The mangled fluid turned clay-red.
The others had to go,
before the eels they built their houses on
swam away in the flying water.

  (Ian MacCartney Scottish poet)
via STV via STV
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