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Poetry Prize Reading & Poetry Library Launch

Monday 18 October 2021, 5.00PM

Each summer term, the department of English and Related Literature holds a poetry competition, open to all current students in the department, in honour of Ruth Selina. Ruth was a remarkable student and very talented poet, and the annual £250 prize is provided by her family in her memory. 

All are warmly invited to this online event in celebration of this year's prize winner - Robin Houghton, for her poem 'The houses are coming' - and our wonderful shortlist of highly commended poems:

Misbah Ahmed, ‘Imposter Syndrome’
Nay Assassa, ‘A Train Stops at Bromley’
Emma Burton, ‘The Boat’
Aleks Carver, ‘Time Has Tricked Us’
Chloe D’arcy, ‘5G fish ’n’ chips’
Emily Mellows, ‘Allie and the Paper Girls’
Arundhathi M A, ‘Stains’
Eve Naden, ‘Fissures’
Aidan Quiqley, ‘First Will and Testament’
Jessie Taussig, ‘It Never Seems Clear’
Ellen Waters, ‘One of the things you never told me’
Henry Wright, ‘And no rock’ 

The prize judges had the following comments regarding this year's entries:

"The judges were astounded by the standard of entries in this second year of the Ruth Selina prize, with nearly twice as many poems as last year, coming in with a dazzling range of forms, subject matter, and poetic invention. While the effects of global pandemic and multiple local lockdowns were felt in many entries, the shortlisted poems also bring a sense of hope, challenging readers to reconnect with the natural world, those around us, and ourselves. As we look forward to a safe return to campus, these poems also give us great hope for the community of poets at York."

And for the winning poem:

"Robin Houghton's poem 'The houses are coming' exemplifies the sharp mix of personal, political, and philosophical thinking in so many of this year's entries. The menace and bodily threat of these invading houses captures something dreadfully immediate about the often abstract, economic debates in a year domestic confinements also highlighted a worsening housing and house market crisis. The threat of invasion is heightened by the claustrophobic form of this spooling report, leaving us suspicious of even 'the untenanted spaces of our minds'."


The event at 5pm on Monday 18 October will take place on Zoom, which you will be able to join with this link. It will include readings of the winning and commended poems by their authors, along with a mini-launch of the department's new poetry library.

All are very welcome, and we hope to see you there!

Location: Online via Zoom. Link to join here: