Yarmouth teen's pandemic poem rated among best in world

Jenna Hunt's pandemic poem has won a global award

Jenna Hunt, from Great Yarmouth, is a Top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021. - Credit: The Poetry Society

A 16-year-old from Great Yarmouth is among winners of a global poetry competition which saw almost 14,500 entries.

Announced at a virtual ceremony on National Poetry Day (October 7) Jenna Hunt's No More Tests was named among the winning 15 poems in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021.

Her entry was chosen from 14,408 poems from close to 7,000 young people, aged 11 to 17.

"When I first read the email notifying me about being one of the competition winners, I felt like everything stopped for a moment," she said.

"It was like when you're at the top of the big drop on a roller coaster, and as you start to go down you feel the blood kind of rush to your head and fill your body with electricity.

"That's what it felt like. In a good way of course."

The submissions came from 109 countries spanning Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, South Korea, the Seychelles, and every corner of the UK.

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Run by The Poetry Society and supported by the Foyle Foundation  judges of the 23rd competition said they were moved by "the beauty, fire and resilience" of the poems, after a period in which the burdens of the pandemic had fallen so heavily on young people.

Judges selected 15 top poets and 85 commended ones.

The top 15 poets, including Jenna, are invited to attend a residential writing course in February 2022 where they will spend a week with this year’s judges, Clare Pollard and Yomi Sode, focusing on improving their poetry and establishing a community of writers.

All 100 winners receive a year’s youth membership of The Poetry Society and a goody bag full of books.

The Poetry Society will continue to support winners throughout their careers providing publication, performance and development opportunities, and access to a paid internship programme.

The top 15 poems will be published in a printed winners’ anthology (also available online) from March 2022.

The 85 commended poems will appear in an online anthology. Both anthologies showcase the talent of the winners and are distributed free to thousands of schools, libraries, reading groups and poetry lovers across the UK and the world.

No More Tests by Jenna Hunt

January they told us it was just a few tests,

Probably nothing to worry about, they said.

February they were concerned,

Something wasn't right, they said.

We don't know yet,

Just a few more tests.

March we feared the worse,

as we heard the news from the nurse.

We'll try our best to help, they said.

April we had hope, treatments went well.

It might be successful, they said.

Only time will tell.

May we sat in tears, it was terminal, they said.

There's nothing we can do,

We're sorry, they said.

June we spent together,

Our mood was sad and gloomy,

like the dark cloud that had encapsulated

our family.

Not long now, they said.

July we said goodbye,

They're gone, they said.

We wept.

No more tests.