An English student at the University of Worcester has won a prestigious international poetry prize.
Amy Hill entered the competition, organised by the Keats-Shelley Association of America and the Thomas Chatterton Society to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Chatterton’s death, after seeing it advertised online.
Her poem ‘Ode to Chatterton’ was selected from among poems from around the world. “I’ve read some of the other entries and I’m so humbled to have won,” said the 27-year-old. “I am so happy. It is really amazing to have had my poem selected over so many others.”
Amy has just completed a BA in English Literature at Worcester and is now going on to study for a Masters in English with the University.
Her prize is a subscription to The Keats-Shelley Journal.
“I’m really pleased with this, as academic journals are quite expensive and this will help me enormously with my Masters,” she said.
Amy said she knew very little about poet Thomas Chatterton before the competition but had spent time researching his life and works before putting pen to paper herself.
“I was vaguely aware of him but never appreciated how significant his work was in inspiring others, such as Keats and Shelley,” Amy said. “It was really fascinating finding out about him and has really inspired me for the future.”
After winning the competition, Amy has been receiving messages of congratulation from world-leading scholars of Romanticism.
Professor Mike Bradshaw, Head of the University’s School of Humanities, said “This is a tremendous achievement by Amy, and we’re delighted for her. Her prize poem is an inspiring example of new writing from Worcester having an international impact. The story of Chatterton, and Amy’s celebration of him, is all about the integrity and creativity of youth, an extremely pertinent theme in 2020.”
Dr Daniel Cook, of The Chatterton Society, said: “On behalf of the Thomas Chatterton Society we are thrilled to see that the legacy of the ‘Marvellous Boy’ continues to thrive. Largely self-taught, Chatterton produced a dazzling array of long and short poems and prose works across an astonishing range of genres, forms and modes before his eighteenth birthday. His inventive faculties knew no bounds. However, he remains best known for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his premature death. With this commemorative writing competition we were pleased to see so many people expressly engaging with Chatterton the poet. In doing so, our entrants join a long list of writers inspired by the ‘wondrous’ Chatterton (in Coleridge’s words), from John Keats to Oscar Wilde and beyond.”
For more information about the competition and to read the runner up entries, alongside Amy’s winning ‘Ode to Chatterton’, visit https://k-saa.org/chatterton250-odes-and-elegies-winner-announcement/
“Ode to Chatterton,” by Amy Hill
Youth is a gift not wasted on the young
In truth, it was by cruel poverty that you were undone.
What one muse bestowed so goodly and graciously,
Did daughters Nyx cut and draw back as bloodthirsty and rapaciously
As the encroaching dawn pursues the sweet dusk
When you took your last breath, like petals falling to dust.
Weaving and casting a perfect and enchanting spell
Your death did inspire so many to dwell
On the sweet flowering of your, short life.
And, pay homage with tears and aching sighs
Still now softly whispering heartfelt fears
Hushed tones and hope of whimsical romance for 250 years.
Have lasted on that precious page,
Enduring on through the raptures of age.
Your pretty perfect poesy lived and still survives
Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth and Coleridge did thrive
On the immense inspiration your lines did provide.
To think if you had lived, what heights you could have climbed
Now your spirit is immortalised in verse, never again confined
In a mere and measly twenty lines.