As soon as my name was mentioned as the new Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate, I started crying. I couldn’t believe that the younger me who had spent her days writing princess stories and poems about animals was now a ‘proper writer’.

Ever since I was old enough to hold a pen, I have always been a writer. However, as I grew older and school became busier, I didn’t have as much free time, and eventually I was hardly writing at all. When I saw the advertisements for the Young Poet Laureate competition earlier this year, I was reminded of how much I loved to write before, and I knew that I had to enter – my younger self wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t!

To say that I was excited when I found out I was one of the finalists is an understatement. I was shocked that my work was something that other people were impressed by too! Before the other finalists and I performed our poems, we were coached by Ade Holbrook, which was really helpful to me as I had never performed before. I genuinely didn’t think I would win; the other finalists were really talented and had amazing poems!

In October 2021, Faith was invited to meet Roger McGough at an event at The Hive in Worcester. He asked her to sign a copy of the Young Poet Laureate competition anthology for him. When reflecting on this event during her BBC radio interview Faith said, "My first ever autograph, and it was for Roger McGough!”

Since the competition, I have been extremely fortunate to take part in many opportunities. One of my biggest highlights is when I was interviewed on BBC Hereford and Worcester Radio. Sitting in the car with my family and hearing my voice on the radio was so surreal. Additionally, the interview was definitely a learning experience for me: it really made me focus on the difference between writing a poem and performing it, and I had to be even more aware of my intonation and pronunciation now that it was being recorded.

Another highlight has been writing poems for the ‘One of the Heard’ anthology. It was a challenge to write 5 poems in a short time frame, and I often found myself with ‘writers’ block’, but seeing my final poems published in a book was extremely rewarding. It was also really beneficial to me to learn how to work to a deadline, and to edit my work to ensure that my message is clear. This was also one of the first times that I worked with my mentor, Steven J Fowler. He provided me with feedback on how to make my pieces clearer and more concise, which has helped me to edit my own work more effectively. We currently meet once a month on Zoom where he helps build my confidence in poetry, and challenges me to try new styles and techniques that broaden my poetry range.

“This year has just been a journey of discovering that I do really love poetry and it’s just opened up so many doors in the poetry world that I hadn’t actually seen before" - Faith Taylor speaking on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester

My biggest advice to any other young poets in the county would be to take a step out of your comfort zone. Before the competition, I had never performed poetry, written poems for an anthology or had an interview on the radio! By taking a risk and entering the competition, I have learned so much about the poetry community, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have gained so much experience and creative knowledge from my writing journey, and I’m looking forward to all the opportunities that will continue to come!

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