Saturday, 2 March 2013

NEWS - Fenland Poet Laureate

Last night's Fenland Poet Laureate Event - organised by Atelier East and hosted by the Wisbech & Fenland Museum - was an absolutely fantastic evening. I felt really privileged to share the floor with twelve incredibly talented poets. The judges did a great job in selecting a real mixture of different styles, all written to such a high standard and performed beautifully on the night.

The three young poet laureate finalists were amazing and they definitely gave us adults a run for our money! Well done to Kristina Tunnard and Bonnie Scott, and a special congratulations to James Horsburgh, the Young Fenland Poet Laureate 2013!

Remember those three names - these guys will be the stars of the future!

I was so proud to even be considered in the same category as the nine other finalists - and completely shocked to hear that I'd won the award. All of the finalists were superb, their poems filled with imagination and insight, and it was wonderful to hear so many people praising the positive attributes of Fenland.

That just doesn't happen often enough!

I really thought that every single finalist was worthy of the title of Fenland Poet Laureate and I found it completely impossible to choose my favourites - they were all so marvellous! I can't wait for the poems to be published so I can read them all again!

Congratulations to all those wonderful poets who took part: Deborah Curtis, Rani Drew, Lizzy Doe, Aaron Garner, Poppy Kleiser, Emma Ormond, Andrea Porter, Michelle Stanbridge, and Taymaz Valley.

Big thanks also goes to the judges:
- Elaine Ewart, the previous Fenland Poet Laureate, for doing such a great job promoting poetry in the Fens over the last year, and for supporting other local poets in such a generous way.
- David Wright, the curator of the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, for all the support gives to the Fenland Poet Laureate project and for hosting the event last night at the Museum

A special thanks should also go to Karen Harvey - the Artist Director of Atelier East. Without Karen's hard work and determination, the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards would just not be possible. Atelier East do an incredible job promoting the arts in Wisbech and Fenland, and Karen really deserves more recognition for all the incredible work that she does!

All right, all right! I'll stop gushing now!

Here's the winning poem, which I wrote whilst reading about the origins of Fen Skating in the nineteenth century:

Six miles

Six miles, again, we’ll go today,
for honour built on broken blades.
We’ll tame these meres; skate far and fast,
with hopes that winter, long may last.

For cold that creeps and freezes fen
brings out the Runners once again.
In tests of wit and skill and speed
on crystal lakes, still wreathed with weeds.

Contracted muscles, chests pulled tight,
like frightened birds, we take to flight.
Sinews screaming, taught like wire,
in every eye, a glint of fire.

On flooded fen, we carve our names
as brackish blood runs through our veins.
The lure of wealth may spur some forth –
we skate for love and all we’re worth.

This subtle smoothness, ice unspoiled,
a canvas stretched o’er sunken soil.
To skate the marsh is to be free:

'These Fenmen do not run; they flee!'


  1. Great poem Leanne. Where is the final line from?

  2. Thanks Taymaz. The quote is from an article on Fen Skating which I found. I'll see if I can dredge it up and find the reference. It's buried somewhere in my notes at the moment!

  3. Beautiful banner at your site as well, I am reminded of some wall paintings by the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, such as this one You browse more murals of his at