2015 Young Poets Award


Parisa Thepmankorn - Rockaway, New Jersey, USA
Intraocular Pressure


Daniella Cugini - Warwick, England
the surgeon dissects his lover

Alex Greenberg - New York City, USA

Alexandra Spensley - Avon Lake, Ohio, USA
Geography of a bone  

Readings by the winning and shortlisted Young Poets


Molly Garbutt - Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, England
Crystal Violet

Eira Murphy - Liverpool, England
Leonardo da Vinci’s study of a womb

Eira Murphy - Liverpool, England

Talin Tahajian - Cambridge, England
Surgical ward with hundreds of tiny lights

Honourable mention 

Charlie Devon - Arrington, Royston, Hertfordshire, England


Featured Young Poets

Daniella Cugini

Daniella Cugini is an A-level student at King's High School in Warwick. She is a 2014 Foyle Young Poet (commended 2013), and was a runner-up in the Amnesty Young Human Rights Reporter awards (Upper Secondary) and the Red Cross writing competition. She has also been published online in Far Off Places and Miracle. Poetry for her is often a way of screaming gracefully, and she takes influence from any poet who has that sort of visceral elegance - from Pablo Neruda to e e cummings. She hopes to begin a degree in English Literature at Emmanuel College, Cambridge this autumn, and continue writing sonnets to unlovely things.

About the surgeon dissects his lover she said: "I have found that writers sometimes see the body as something cold, superficial, something that needs to be spiritualised to be meaningful. As someone who finds physiology and the philosophy of beauty absolutely enthralling, I wanted to explore the idea that the body is rooted in the artistic by virtue of its complexity, that it is not only inseparable from the spiritual but the birthplace of the spiritual. I wanted to explore the conflicted nature of the surgeon - how he fears the loss of his lover, but knows that her mortality is an essential element of her beauty.

CD r

Charlie Devon attends St John's College School in Cambridge. This is the first time he has entered a poetry competition. He was inspired to write Dad by his father's successful treatment (and subsequent recovery) of cancer when Charlie was only 7 years old. 

Molly Garbutt

Molly Garbutt is a teen poet from Worcestershire who primarily writes on the themes of mythology, feminism and current affairs. Despite her love for all things Literature-related, she will, if all goes well, be taking up an offered place at veterinary school this autumn. She was recently a finalist in the Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate competition, and was also a commended Foyle's Young Poet last year, and hopes to continue her endeavours into the world of poetry in the future.

She said: "My inspiration for Crystal Violet came, as many of my ideas do, from being a little too daydream-y in Biology, and letting the knowledge I garnered in the lesson loose on my subconscious. From that rose a poem I love simply because it intertwines the complicated and emotional aspects of a terminal diagnosis with the pure, blank results of a medical test, which parallels the deep contrast between humanity and science that I've been seeing for the past three years as a work experience student in various veterinary situations."

Alex Greenberg r

Alex Greenberg has had work published or accepted for publication in journals such as The Cortland Review, The Florida Review, Grist, Kweli, and Spinning Jenny. He was the recipient of the 2014 Adirondack Review Prize and a runner up for the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize.

Eira Murphy

Eira Murphy is 14 and from Liverpool. She has previously been commended in The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Her favourite writers are Sylvia Plath, Angela Carter, John Fowles and Emily Brontë. Eira was inspired to write one of her poems after a history lesson which dwelt on the subject of scientific revolution. It was here that she was given the opportunity to examine a sketch of a womb by Leonardo Da Vinci which sparked an interest in the perception of the body and how the idea of birth changed throughout the years. Regarding Migraine, Eira is also a migraine sufferer and felt that poetry as a medium was best able to express the abstract hallucinations which form part of the way she views the world.

Alexandra Spensley

Alexandra Spensley is a student at Avon Lake High School in Avon Lake, Ohio (USA). Her poetry has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Hollins University, Brigham Young University, Sierra Nevada College, Vincennes University, and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Her writing has also appeared in Freehand, Cadaverine and The Postscript Journal, among others. When not writing, she enjoys running and playing violin.

She said: "Geography of a bone was inspired by my experience with a compound fracture of my left arm when I was 11. I am fascinated by the way surgeons-- and in this case the patient-- can actually see the bone of a living person, especially because the human skeleton is such an inherently private system. The poem attempts to communicate this sense of unnatural discovery and the subsequent feelings of mortality it evokes, as well as the otherworldly quality of surgery itself.”

Talin Tahajian - Hippocrates 2014

Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Salt Hill Journal, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets 2014, Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Washington Square Review, and on Verse Daily. She's the author of half a chapbook, Scenes from the Urban Dumpster (Midnight City Books, 2015), and serves as a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College), where she studies English literature and attempts to assimilate.

About her poem she said: "Surgical ward with hundreds of tiny lights is based on that delirium that comes with anesthetics, that time late at night when everything seems warped and fantastical. It's also inspired by Johnny Joo's photographs of abandoned hospitals."

Parisa Thepmankorn

Parisa Thepmankorn is currently a junior at Morris Hills High School, located in Rockaway, New Jersey, USA. Other than receiving recognition in the 2014 and 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, she has written poems that have been published in The Apprentice Writer, Cicada Magazine and The Cadaverine, among others. She currently serves as a poetry editor for [empath] Quarterly and interns at The Blueshift Journal. She is deeply fascinated by biology and the human anatomy, and her writing often reflects these interests. In the future, she hopes to further study these topics, as well as English literature, and pursue a career in medicine.

She said: "I wrote Intraocular Pressure after a visit to the optometrist revealed that my eyes' intraocular pressures were on the higher side of "normal". Inspired by the idea of certain diseases as time bombs, my poem is the result of both my personal fears and my attempt to extrapolate the future implications and physical effects of the condition if it worsened.”

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