Young Poet Laureate for Herefordshire

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Young Poet Laureate for Herefordshire

Posted: 24/06/2009 16:59:05

Talented youngster Sapphire de Sousa Stayton, from Ross-on-Wye, has been by chosen by Herefordshire Libraries to be the first ever Young Poet Laureate for the county.

The 12-year-old performed in the final judging event at The Courtyard Centre for the Arts on Thursday, June 18, competing against four other short-listed young poets in front of a live audience and a panel of judges.

It was a nerve wracking final and a close fought competition. The other finalists were Maddie Watts and Lottie Mapp, both from John Masefield School in Ledbury, Katherine Jenkins from St Richards School Bromyard, and Gabrielle Johnson from Hereford Waldorf School.

Sapphire, who goes to Haberdashers Monmouth School for Girls, was amazed by her win and said she was so happy that her mum had persuaded her to enter the competition.

“The understated expression of surprised delight on Sapphire's face when her name was announced was a poetic moment in itself,” said Mick Ligema, the council’s assistant cultural services manager, who was one of the judges.

The Competition opened in February this year and 28 young hopefuls aged between 11 and 19 submitted four of their own poems with one on the theme of “heroes and heroines”.

“I was so impressed with the standard of the entries” said Anne-Marie Dossett, librarian and organiser of the competition.

“We seem to have lots of talented young poets in Herefordshire,” she added.

Sapphire will be in post for a year. She will perform her poems at the Youth Games in July and at the prestigious Ledbury Poetry Festival on Monday, July 6, at 1.30pm at a free event called Out Loud.

Her winning “Heroes” poem will be made into a postcard especially for National Poetry Day which will be distributed throughout the West Midlands.

Throughout the year she will get meet other poets and have the chance to perform alongside them.

The competition was organised by Herefordshire Libraries, Poetry on Loan and The Courtyard Centre for the Arts, and will run again next year to find the second Young Poet Laureate for Herefordshire.

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