Celebrate National Poetry Day

Speak Your Truth Poem

Congratulations to our #SpeakYourTruthPoem winner, Rami Yasir!

Rami has won a £500 cash prize as well as a day’s mentoring at YouTube Studios in London. When asked for their inspiration when writing The Story of my Children, Rami said “I’m interested in how we turn trauma and ugly things into art we call beautiful. I’m also interested in generational trauma, and how we carry and cope with it, and this poem is what resulted.” Click the image below to be taken to Rami’s full poem.

This poem was so remarkable in every way. The beauty of its style, the story it tells, the honesty in the poet’s way of telling it. It reminds me of Darwish’s poetry in its language. I loved the way Rami combined speaking their truth with such powerful imagery.

Competition judge Nikita Gill on Rami’s poem.

Congratulations also go to our runners up, Erin May Kelly and Daisy Harris. They will each receive a copy of our anthology Tell Me The Truth About Life with Michael O’Mara Books.

View these and the rest of the shortlisted poems on YouTube here.

For National Poetry Day 2019, we invited you to upload a poem about a truth that matters to you, and tag it #SpeakYourTruthPoem. You responded with a magnificent range of work: poems about happiness, survival, loneliness and hope, about the truths no one dares speak, or listen to, and even the truths overhead on the top deck of the number 103 bus.

If you entered and didn’t make the shortlist, don’t despair: we enjoyed viewing all the entries, and the ones which were prefaced by words about the value of poetry are the ones we’ll be turning to whenever we want to demonstrate, yes, the value of poetry. Collectively, you made an extraordinarily strong case for the artform. Thank you.

Subscribe to our mailing list if you want the heads-up on any 2020 competitions.

For reference only: these were the How To Enter basics

1.Write a new poem on National Poetry Day’s theme of Truth. For inspiration, check out these YouTube films by the five judges: Savannah Brown, Nikita Gill , footballer/poet Marvin Sordell, artist Chris Riddell and Manchester performance poet Tony Walsh, whose poem This is the Place has had more than 4 million views.

2. Speak your poem straight to camera: the poem itself should be no longer than 90 seconds. Start off by introducing yourself: say who you are and why you’ve turned to poetry to share a truth that matters to you. The whole film should be less than two minutes long. A maximum of 3 entries per person.

3. Upload your poem to YouTube and tag the title #SpeakYourTruthPoem, by October 3 Please include the text of the poem in the information below the film, and tell us how you want to be contacted by National Poetry Day if you are shortlisted. Do this by emailing truth@nationalpoetryday.co.uk. Remember you cannot win the Prize if you miss this step!

4. Follow National Poetry Day on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information, and look out for #SpeakYourTruthPoem.

5. Small print: the judges’ decision is final. This competition is run by the charity Forward Arts Foundation and supported by The Space, and in submitting an entry, you give both The Space and National Poetry Day permission to contact you, to share your film, in extract or in its entirety, via their websites and associated broadcast or social media channels. This does not affect your rights as creator. Oh, and talking of creators’ rights: don’t use music in your film unless it has been cleared for use.