Catlin Gabel student Erica Berry named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year by the Poetry Society of the UK

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Press Release

Oct 4, 2007

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nadine Fiedler

503-297-1894 ext 301

Catlin Gabel student Erica Berry named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year by the Poetry Society of the UK

Young poets unite in searching for a common multicultural identity and express concern for political betrayal. The 10th anniversary of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award announced October 4th – National Poetry Day 2007

Erica Berry, a sophomore at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, is one of 15 winners of the prestigious Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2007, and the only winner from outside the United Kingdom. Erica’s poem may be found at the Foyle Young Poets website.

These young poets reveal that young people in the UK and abroad are striving to unite with a universal common identity in a world beset with political betrayal and broken promises. These young minds show a wisdom beyond their years.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year is the number one poetry award for young people from 11-17, recognising and rewarding the brightest future stars of the poetry world. It was set up to help establish enthusiastic readers and writers of poetry. Previous winners include some of the best young poets writing today including Caroline Bird, Martha Sprackland and Helen Mort. Amongst last year’s winners was Adham Smart, a 14 year old from London with his limerick about asylum seekers, and Emily Middleton, a 16 year old from Buxton with her powerful poem about a suicide bomber.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations all winners will be invited to attend a major award ceremony at The Unicorn Theatre in London on National Poetry Day (Thursday 4 October) where the winning poems will be read by Sophie Okonedo, Roger Lloyd-Pack, William Sieghart and Harriet Walter. The winning poems will be published in a specially printed anthology which will be distributed nationally. The judges for this year are award-winning poets Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott.

This year again saw an unprecedented number of entries of an extremely high level – nearly 10,000 poems were entered for all over the world, and for the first time a large number of these entries were made via the web. The prize awards 15 overall winners and 100 runners-up. The 15 winners receive a top prize of a course at the world-renowned Arvon Centre, where they will be tutored by the two judges of the competition Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott. The winners in the 11-15 category each receive a visit to their school and one to one workshop session with one of the Poetry Society’s team of Poets in Schools. The prize attracts entries from all over the world including China and the US.

Dalhit Nagra, winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for best single poem and one of this year’s judges commented on the 2007 entries;

“I came across many poems which showed young people thinking through poetry about the big issues of our age. There seemed to be a responsible articulation of global warning, the war in Iraq, and the Wests exploitation of poor countries that spoke positively about the youth of today and the future of poetry.”

The award is made possible by The Foyle Foundation, which distributes grants to charitable organisations in the areas of Learning, Arts and Health. The award is administered by the Poetry Society.


Notes to editors:

The 15 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2007 are:


Amy Blakemore (15), Deptford, London

Camilla Chen (15), Singapore

Arabella Currie (17), Oxford

Mengya Du (16), Durham

Charlotte Geater (17), Ipswich

Sophie Jih, (16) Troy, USA

Annie Katchinska (16) Bromley

Eleanor Kendrick (16), Maidstone

Mark Maguire (13), Manchester

Emily Mercer (17), Skelmersdale, Lancs

Richard OBrien (16), West Deeping, Lincs

Melanie Poonai (15), Harrow, Middlesex

Sarah Williams, (16) Hook, Hamps

Katie Willy (15), Tunbridge Wells, Kent

The Foyle Young Poets Award is sponsored by the Foyle Foundation. It meets two of the Foyle Foundation’s core criteria for support in Arts and Learning and in particular encourages creativity and literacy among young people at school. These are key success factors for young people to go through life. The Foundation is very keen to work with the Poetry Society to build on what has been achieved so far and to encourage more schools and young poets to become involved with the scheme nationwide.

Biogs for judges

Jo Shapcott was one of the first ever judges of the Young Poets of the Year Awards, alongside Roger McGough in 1997. She teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and is also Visiting Professor in Poetry at the University of Newcastle and the University of the Arts, London. She is the current President of the Poetry Society. She won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Best First Collection for Electroplating the Baby, the Forward Prize with My Life Asleep and has won the National Poetry Competition twice. Some of her poems were set to music by composer Stephen Montague in The Creatures Indoors, premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1997.

Daljit Nagra won the Forward Poetry Prize for best single poem with Look We Have Coming to Dover! in 2004. His debut collection of the same name was published by Faber in February 2007 and has been shortlisted once more this year for the Forward Poetry Prize, this time for the best first collection. His work has also been published in The Rialto, Poetry London and Poetry Review. He is currently an English teacher at the Jews Free School, Kingsbury.

About Catlin Gabel

Catlin Gabel serves Portland and the world as an educational catalyst, drawing together dedicated educators, motivated students, superb curricular resources, and thoughtfully applied technology, in a beautiful and functional setting, all for the purpose of forming bold learners who become responsible action-takers for life. Catlin Gabel is an independent, non-sectarian, progressive coeducational day school serving 700 students from preschool through twelfth grade. Its roots go back to the Portland Academy, founded in 1859. The school occupies 54 acres on Barnes Road, five miles west of downtown Portland.