Colyton students win first poetry slam

Colyton Grammar School's poetry slam contestants

Colyton Grammar School's poetry slam contestants - Credit: Archant

Two 13-year-olds take the top prize after perfoming at Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival

Two Colyton Grammar School students won Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival’s first poetry slam.

Joshua Gleave and Grace Stephens, both 13, took the award after performing their work in front of more than 150 people.

Two fellow Year 9 student Romilly Spaul and Olivia Petrini, also took part in the contest and acquitted themselves well.

A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. These performances are usually judged by selected members of the audience or by a panel of judges.

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Colyton Grammar School English teacher Suzie Bean said: “I am tremendously proud of all four students involved. They worked very co-operatively and imaginatively, produced some stunning poetry and conquered their nerves to perform confidently and with feeling.”

The winning poem is about two people in different places and times, who are linked together by a painting that depicts the sea, called the “Wild Storm”.

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They each have different futures ahead of them - one character is an old man, whose life is set in the past. After a long and fulfilling life as an artist, he drowns in the same ocean he always loved to paint.

The other character is a young girl whose life is set in the future. In this world, art and creativity are forbidden, and the outside is an idea as insubstantial as a dream.

However, these people, linked through the Wild Storm painting, realise they are not afraid of change:

The Poem:

The sea will always carry me home

The tides will take me where I belong

Old writing, from centuries gone,

writing made in smooth strokes by artist’s cracked hands

The waves will break against the rocks; the cycle will continue forever

This painting is my window space;

who knows what the Outside really looks like? Who would want to know?

The waves are here to calm our fury;

I know the outside holds no dread

A wild, tossed-about ocean,

sunset gleaming on the horizon, dark clouds rumbling in the sky

The comfort of

A thousand rippling rays

The painting is beautiful, studied in schools, yet forbidden to those who know how to dream

The waves are free,

Unconfined and unrestrained

I turn away and dress myself

In uniform attire

the waves take me with them, their power forced upon me, and yet I trust them still

I am radiant on the outside,


One cannot capture the beauty;

the sea cannot be painted

But the Wild Storm painting is another kind of Beautiful; unrestrained, powerful, free

lost forever in the eternal moment

of blissful infinity

Who knows what lies outside,

but I am not afraid

There is a certain beauty

in what we don’t know

My guess is that it will be

Another kind of beauty entirely

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