Young Poets of the year announced

Jesse Rodrigues Jesse Rodrigues from the US is the competition's youngest winner at 13

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The winners of 2012's Young Poets of the Year have been announced, in a year which saw a record number of entries.

The prize, which honours the best poets aged 11 to 17, saw 7,351 entries from 46 different countries.

Jesse Rodrigues from Maine, USA, was the youngest of the top 15 winners, at 13 years old.

The award is one of many events marking Thursday's National Poetry Day, which will also see poetry on the advertising lights at London's Piccadilly Circus.

The words of Cornish writer Charles Causley's I Am The Song will be lit up on the hour every hour from 09:00 to 14:00 BST, following a competition inviting young filmmakers, digital artists and animators to submit their interpretations of the poem.

"Poetry is all around us, including in advertising," said the day's founder William Sieghart.

"National Poetry Day is all about discovery, finding poetry in your environment, and it's refreshing that among the advertising messages of the Piccadilly Lights, passers-by will find Charles Causley's reminder of the power of human expression, a commodity that money can't buy.'"

'Feeling and imagination'

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is one of the largest poetry competitions in the world, with this year's 100 recipients coming from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Nigeria and Thailand.

The awards recognise 15 overall winners, and a further 85 who are commended. Of the top 15, 12 were from the UK and three hailed from the USA.

Young Poets of the Year Top 15

  • Naomi Hamilton, 16, Northern Ireland - The Wilderness
  • Conor McKee, 17, Kent - Hemingway's Thirst
  • Clare Carlile, 17, Sheffield - The Everyday Hymn
  • Tallulah Hutson, 16, London - The Accident
  • Abigail Setchfield, 17, Bedford - Reduced
  • Emily Burns, 17, Pittsford New York - Minutiae
  • Sarah Fletcher, 17, London - Brighton
  • Jessica Kelham-Hohler, 17, London - Jim
  • Phoebe Stuckes, 16, West Somerset - Reach/Throw/Wade/Row
  • Sonja Moore, 16, San Diego USA - The Frame
  • Jesse Rodrigues, 13, Maine USA - Fire Knows
  • Flora de Falbe, 16, London - Five things about the lake
  • Dillon Leet, 16, London - Birthday Present
  • Phoebe Boswall, 17, Kent - Baking
  • David Carey, 17, London - The Apple Tree

They were selected by judges Christopher Reid and Helen Mort, who won the award herself at 13. The panel said the prizes involved some "tough choices".

"Many of this year's entries were eye-catching, but the winning poems were so vivid they played tricks with the light," Mort said.

Fellow judge and award-winning British poet Reid added: "Skill, intelligence, feeling and imagination are all in abundance, together with that magic ingredient of youthful freshness."

Several of the winners dealt with bereavement and loss, including 17-year-old American Emily Burns in her poem Minutiae. Others, such as 17-year-old Londoner David Carey's The Apple Tree, tackled themes around growing up.

This year's National Poetry Day has also seen the first ever Canal Laureate appointed.

Boating poet Jo Bell's brief is to encourage people to see the UK's waterways in a new light, by writing poems and blogs and hosting workshops and performances.

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