When I entered the Young Poet Laureate competition nearly two years ago, I had no idea what was in store for me. Over the year or so that I have been Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate, I have learned so much about my own poetry style and the poetry community, and I have made so many memories that I will keep with me forever.

One of the biggest highlights for me was working with BBC Young Dancer finalist Matthew Rawcliffe to create a poetry/dance collaboration. We spent a day in Bromsgrove Library creating a filmed piece using only the resources we could find there. We started with just a pen and paper and ended up with a poem containing a secret message, choreography and a short film to go along with it! It was challenging to create this piece in just a few hours, but it has become one of my favourite poems. It was also really new and refreshing to adapt my writing style to include other forms of art, such as dance, and I feel like I learned a lot through this experience.

Another memory of my Young Poet Laureate journey was the Primrose Hospice Summer Fayre. My family have supported Primrose for a while now, so being asked to perform for them was really exciting for me! I wrote 5 poems to go in a mini collection called ‘Hold My Hand’ which I sold at the event, with all profits going to the hospice. When I performed, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Seeing such an emotional reaction to something I had created was truly incredible and people kept hugging me and thanking me after my set which was such a great feeling. The hospice was so impacted by my poems that they asked me to perform another set later that day, which of course I said yes to! To add to the experience, MP Sajid Javid requested 2 copies of my collection.

In February 2022, I had the opportunity to judge the Birmingham Schools Poetry Slam at Verve Poetry Festival. At this event, I met with two other local Young Poet Laureates from Birmingham and Staffordshire, who have become two of my closest friends. It has been so lovely to have friends who have shared a similar experience to me, and we’re always asking each other for opinions on our new pieces. Poetry can be quite isolating at times when you’re writing alone in your bedroom, but being able to talk to people I can relate to has been extremely beneficial. Without the YPL programme, I would still be writing alone and I wouldn’t have nearly as much motivation to write!

As a whole, being Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate has been the best experience of my life. I have learned so much about myself and my poetry and so many doors have been opened up for me because of this. I have met so many amazing and talented people that have become my favourite friends and created work that I will always be proud of. I would encourage anyone with a passion for writing to enter the Young Poet Laureate competition when it opens. No matter how much experience with poetry or how much confidence you have, it will teach you so much and you won’t regret it. When I started my journey all the way back in 2021, I had never performed or published a poem, but now I have my own collection, two short films, a radio interview and the best friends to help me through it all. Thank you to Severn Arts and everyone involved in my poetry journey for all shaping me into the poet I am today!

Find out more about Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate competition