by Akpa Arinzechukwu

I spent the first months of the lockdown at my mum's house, where she occasionally shared baby pictures & stories surrounding them with me. She lost my brother two years after birth. Here, I am reimagining my mum (who is coincidentally Maria) & her man, ...

I spent the first months of the lockdown at my mum's house, where she occasionally shared baby pictures & stories surrounding them with me. She lost my brother two years after birth. Here, I am reimagining my mum (who is coincidentally Maria) & her man, an artist, in his diary trying to give words to her grief.

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Mrs/Mother Hail was written during 2021's ongoing pandemic when the feelings of my world becoming even smaller needed to be given voice. Through a worsening of mental health due to my neurodivergence, I have reduced my sense of the larger world to the ...

Mrs/Mother Hail was written during 2021's ongoing pandemic when the feelings of my world becoming even smaller needed to be given voice. Through a worsening of mental health due to my neurodivergence, I have reduced my sense of the larger world to the bare minimum. I wanted to tell the story of my survival within the small, everyday moments. I also wanted to express in the poem my gladness that I am a mother. The poem is also a prayer to hope.

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by Aidan Casey

This is about a fairly acute episode of cabin fever experienced during lockdown.
The impact on communication of the pandemic. The necessary inconvenience of masks. The loss of intimacy with those close to you.

by Martin Figura

One of a series of poems as Writer in Residence with Salisbury NHS, inspired by interviews, site visits and research in response to the Covid experience of staff and patients.
This poem speaks to the experience of loss, grief, and the worry that visits people who are apart. I write it as an immigrant in the UK who is surviving through the pandemic away from family and loved ones.
I'm fascinated by prose poetry as a box of tricks, with unexpected things hidden and revealed, so I have written a number of prose poems which address conjuring and sleight of hand. This was written around my birthday in January, thinking of childhood ...

I'm fascinated by prose poetry as a box of tricks, with unexpected things hidden and revealed, so I have written a number of prose poems which address conjuring and sleight of hand. This was written around my birthday in January, thinking of childhood influences and inspirations which have somehow led to me pulling words out of empty air for a living. What happened when I sawed that girl in half? I'm not saying.

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Ramona Herdman’s latest pamphlet, ‘A warm and snouting thing’ is published by The Emma Press. Her previous pamphlet, ‘Bottle’ (HappenStance Press), was a PBS Pamphlet Choice. Ramona lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers.
During the pandemic I've had phone calls from a health professional stating that I wouldn't receive treatment should I contract Covid, and that I should consider getting a Do Not Resuscitate Order. This became known as The DNR Scandal by BBC News when ...

During the pandemic I've had phone calls from a health professional stating that I wouldn't receive treatment should I contract Covid, and that I should consider getting a Do Not Resuscitate Order. This became known as The DNR Scandal by BBC News when they were breaking the story a year on. It left the news cycle within 24 hours. 'Long term conditions' means a sigh of relief when COVID deaths are reported. Hayfeaver is also a long term condition.

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by Marika Keen

I wrote this sort of in sympathy with the wildness inherent in everybody, and the often seemingly primal motives behind the things we do (be they good, bad or neither). Lockdown/the pandemic in particular has brought out so much fear, loneliness and ...

I wrote this sort of in sympathy with the wildness inherent in everybody, and the often seemingly primal motives behind the things we do (be they good, bad or neither). Lockdown/the pandemic in particular has brought out so much fear, loneliness and optimism, which remind me of our 'pack animal' instincts and the fact that we respond to threats in different ways - also the extent at which we can feel peace in the present moment.

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I have tried to capture the uncertainty of the past year. Dreams, going for a walk. Not going to the pub. The things I took for granted.
One advantage of lockdown has been the turning of many of us to self-improving education, but isolation can have strange effects, and this narrator may or may not be reliable. The other inspiration during 2021 was, unfortunately, the Government's ...

One advantage of lockdown has been the turning of many of us to self-improving education, but isolation can have strange effects, and this narrator may or may not be reliable. The other inspiration during 2021 was, unfortunately, the Government's increased tendency towards more repressive legislation, which is hinted at towards the end.

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by Rachael Li Ming Chong

This poem was written in response to the declining mental health of my colleagues during the pandemic. Whilst we were all so glad to physically return to school, many teachers, including myself, struggled with the myriad of challenges that came with ...

This poem was written in response to the declining mental health of my colleagues during the pandemic. Whilst we were all so glad to physically return to school, many teachers, including myself, struggled with the myriad of challenges that came with supporting our students. This poem acknowledges its mental toll, and tentatively contemplates ways to move forward and re-build hope.

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by Jehane Markham

I wrote this poem after reading Kate Clanchy's book on Grow Your Own Poem. I tried to write a poem about a table but it was boring and then when I changed it to a sofa it became much more interesting because of my emotions about my memories and thoughts.
In lockdown, I was isolated from my LGBTQ scene and so I wrote this praise poem to gay bars in order to conjure them when they were closed and to explore why I love visiting them.

by Gerry Stewart

Ghazal is an Arabic poetic form with rhyming couplets. The poem plays with the repeat of the word 'own' in its various meanings as I describe my dream to leave a complicated life in Finland to buy land in Scotland.

by Josie Walsh

This poem came more rapidly into a first draft than is my usual writing experience . Its subject has been in my memory since the late seventies. Writing it, I was at pains to convey the whole question of having an environmental dream. And of the respect I ...

This poem came more rapidly into a first draft than is my usual writing experience . Its subject has been in my memory since the late seventies. Writing it, I was at pains to convey the whole question of having an environmental dream. And of the respect I felt, and feel still, for someone who holds on to deeply-felt hope, in very difficult circumstances.

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So many businesses and brands have gone from the high street in recent years, but the closure of Topshop's flagship Oxford Street store seemed particularly striking. I'd read about rats overtaking our offices and shops during the 2021 lockdown and ...

So many businesses and brands have gone from the high street in recent years, but the closure of Topshop's flagship Oxford Street store seemed particularly striking. I'd read about rats overtaking our offices and shops during the 2021 lockdown and imagined them on a fast-fashion rampage.

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The first line was my response–during a call–to the Derek Chauvin trial verdict. The night before, when the verdict was imminent, I’d said I didn’t want to know yet, as “the most likely bad news can keep till tomorrow.” So little was my faith that justice ...

The first line was my response–during a call–to the Derek Chauvin trial verdict. The night before, when the verdict was imminent, I’d said I didn’t want to know yet, as “the most likely bad news can keep till tomorrow.” So little was my faith that justice would be done. Throughout the day the line kept coming back to me, and the person on the call called again to say they'd been using it with others. The line seemed to be asking to become a poem.

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This is quite a self-explanatory poem. My mother died a few years ago and my father a little afterwards. In searching for a scarf/mask to protect myself and others against COVID I pulled an old scarf of my mother’s from the cupboard. She’d spent her life ...

This is quite a self-explanatory poem. My mother died a few years ago and my father a little afterwards. In searching for a scarf/mask to protect myself and others against COVID I pulled an old scarf of my mother’s from the cupboard. She’d spent her life raising her children then after we were grown and gone, she volunteered to look after elderly people in her neighbourhood. So appropriate that I should choose her scarf - as the poem says.

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This Year's Judges

A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

Watch the full Wordview 2021 playlist
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