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A Poetry Competition by Sudden Productions

When Poetry meets human rights, protest, social justice, and contemporary and historical political climates.

Sudden Productions is launching a new season of Fearful, an exclusive campaign aiming to reduce the number of knives being carried by young people in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Here, the dangers of carrying a knife will be highlighted, and young people will be encouraged to discuss their fears surrounding violent crime rather than resorting to carrying a weapon for protection, in light of the fact that evidence indicates those who carry weapons as being significantly more likely to face injury than those who don’t.

We believe youth participation is key to the successful awareness project, and we need YOUR support in designing Fearful.

The campaign consists of videos of young people discussing knife crime, as well as a poster campaign, short film, visual theatre performance, and collection of poems. Support us by finding the right words and ideas!

E-mail with your poem about knife crime with ‘Fearful’ in the subject line and let us know  your name, age, and which youth centre you are attending.

Through poetry, we can discuss and debate the issues surrounding knife crime—so, tell us if, like some young people, you think you need a weapon for protection, or about the emotional psychological consequences knife crime has on families, loved ones, etc. We want to open up a conversation with young people and encourage you to talk about your worries!

The shortlist will be judged by a panel of West Midland poetry and spoken-word artists.

Deadline: 30.12.20

Guidelines: Competitors may submit one poem only

Prizes: FREE Poetry in Performance Workshop for your  school, youth organisation or community centre. Your poem may also be part of our collection of poems on knife crime that are professionally printed and illustrated!

World Poetry Day takes place on 21st March 2021

If the current sanitary situation allows, we will plan to visit  youth centres during the week commencing 15th March 2021 to offer a Poetry In Performance workshop, facilitated by a professional theatre practitioner and spoken-word artist. We will use your work during the workshop.

We will comply with and respect the sanitary regulations and guidance set out in each youth organisation visited. The workshop may be delivered online if there is no other option.

KNIFE crime in the West Midlands increased by 13 per cent in 2019.

As national levels of knife crime rose to a record high, the West Midlands saw one of the highest regional jumps in the country.

Please take this opportunity to create awareness and forward this email to young people and/or work with them on the project.

Please also do not hesitate to email us to tell us if you require further support at

Why not create a group poem video and send it to us?

We all love watching, writing, and performing group poems. Whilst pulling them off  can be difficult, one fun alternative that I’ve found to be effective is to create a group poem video! Each student writes their own stanza, and then the students read their stanzas and work together to decide how the poem best fits together. Young people then record themselves reading their poem. 

Participants should drop all of their video files into a Google Drive folder and, using an easy video editing software (e.g., WeVideo; Adobe Spark) compile their stanza videos to create a whole new poem! 

If you send such a creation to us, we will make it part of our campaign and feature the video on our website!

Writing A Poem: Our Tips

A successful poem should…

·     Focus on a single idea, feeling, or experience.

·     Use concrete images.

·     Use precise, sensory words in a fresh way.

·     Include figurative language (i.e., similes; metaphors; personification).

·     Use sound devices (i.e., alliteration; assonance; rhyme) to support the meaning and effect of the poem.

Any topic is suitable for a poem. Our theme is knife crime, and there are many approaches possible to the theme, such as…

1.   Sitting quietly.

2.   Letting words and memories run through your mind.

3.   Jotting down interesting thoughts and phrases—especially ones that describe sights, sounds and feelings.

When it comes to prewriting, poems don’t magically appear on paper: Each detail must be chosen carefully. Neophyte poets don’t want to be constrained by a plan, although careful planning can allow for creativity while drafting.

1.   Free-write about your topic. Circle any interesting image, word, or detail, and decide which ones you want to use in your poem.

2.   Identify the mood you want to convey. How does the topic make you feel? Create images that emphasise the feeling you desire to create.

3.   Begin. Determine which word, line, or image captures your attention most and leads to other details and images. Determine which line will be the focus of your writing.

When it comes to writing a first draft, the secret is simply writing a poem. Millions think about writing a poem; millions intend to write a poem; millions have great ideas for writing a poem; but very few actually write a poem.

1.   Using your prewriting as a guide, let the words flow freely. Don’t feel limited by a predetermined format-sonnets, for example; you can always revise.

2.   Explore sound devices. Allow for serendipity!

3.   Use figurative language. Allow for inspiration!

4.   Choose words to reflect the mood of your poem. Keep in mind word connotations.

5.   Experiment with different structures.

6.   Read your draft aloud.

7.   Consider possible changes.

8.   Read your draft aloud again and again and again.

9.   Consider further possible changes until it reads smoothly.

When it comes to revising, editing, and proofreading, the following suggestions will transform your rough verse into a polished poem…

1.   Add Details. The success of your poem ultimately depends on the clarity of images, so look for opportunities to appeal to the five senses. Good poetry is experienced.

2.   Use punctuation correctly. Punctuate your sentences based on how they’re supposed to be read, not by where the line ends.

3.   Before you publish the final draft, read it aloud one more time.