Hugo’s poem is voted best in annual Betjeman award
WINNING wordsmith Hugo Grundy put Hebden Bridge on the poetry map again when he won the John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People.
The 10 year old beat off competition from 3,000 youngsters across the country after reading his poem Peter’s Room at St Pancras International on National Poetry Day.
Film star Richard E Grant handed a £1,000 prize to Hugo, which will be divided equally between him and the English department of his school, Riverside Junior.
National Poetry Day Spokespoet Ian McMillan will lead a poetry workshop at the school.
Established in 2006 by the family of the former Poet Laureate, the contest aims to encourage children to read, write and be inspired by poetry. It also seeks to unearth hidden talent and give due praise to the teachers of the prize winners.
Hugo, who won the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition in 2010, was inspired to write his piece by a visit to his uncle Peter’s home in Ireland. In his mid-40s, Peter suffers from depression.
Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion texted Hugo’s mum Siobhan to say: “Terrific - I’m not at all surprised it won.”
Hugo said: “I’m delighted because it’s the biggest competition I have ever entered. When I came up to read my poem I felt quite intense and shaky but when I got into reading it I felt proud and calm.”
On the same day his elder brother Dualtagh was selected as one of the 85 Commended Foyle Young Poets of the Year.
Peter reminds me of dust.
Peter’s room -
so roomy and dull -
boxes under covers,
comics on coats,
Books, pencils and brushes
and half drunk tea cups.
The sun outside curtains, never open.
a diamond ring beneath it all.
Because nearly everyone’s mum’s got a diamond ring.
You could sit on Peter’s bed
under Jesus’ wide open heart
that stretches across a whole wall.
Climb a cobweb to a branchy, pine needle tree.
Light candles in the spine
coming up from cup-like roots
like a spider living upside down in a peaceful park.
You could open drawers full of playful ghosts.
Pretend you’re at Eddie Rocket’s
- stripes of red and white.
But they’re colours,
not shades like Peter’s room.
There’s a narrow, broken shoulder stairs
that leads to Peter’s room.
In the garden -
rusty old keys
laid out on a table.
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