Budding poets, young and old, are invited to submit their poems to a unique competition, with the chance of their work being displayed for thousands to read on a Tyne and Wear Metro station.
The competition, organised by Nexus, opens today, National Poetry Day, and closes on 7 November.
There are two categories: Adult (over 16 years old) and 16 and under. The winner and the runner up in each category will see their poem displayed on a large poster at Longbenton, a busy commuter station which is used by more than one million customers every year.
All poems submitted will be judged by Nexus, plus Alice Mullen, manager of the Poetry Book Society, and award-winning poet Degna Stone.
Alice said: ““The Poetry Book Society is delighted to be working with Nexus to give a platform to regional talent and share the joy of poetry with our local community. During this pandemic we’ve found that more and more people have turned to poetry and it’s brought us together during extremely difficult times.
A single poem on a Metro platform could reach out to one commuter and make them see the world in a completely different light. We’re all slowly emerging from some really tough times but poetry can offer some sort of hope, connection or even joy and that’s more important than ever these days.”
Poems can be submitted via the Nexus website Poetry | nexus.org.uk and should be on the theme of ‘Winter’.
Degna said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the panel to judge these poems. This region is so creative and I know many people will be excited to get involved, whether or not they’ve ever written poetry before. The fact that the winners will get their poems displayed at the station, in such a prominent location, makes it even more exciting. It’s a great opportunity for the poems to connect with a real mix of people.”
Four poems reflecting on the pandemic, by professional poets, are currently displayed at Longbenton Metro Station. The winning and runner-up poems from this competition will replace them, and Nexus hopes to continue the idea with regular competitions on different themes in the future.
Huw Lewis, Nexus Customer Services Director, said: “Metro has a long history of displaying art on the network. Longbenton is already home to some fantastic poems, and we wanted to give more people the opportunity to have their work displayed there.
“Placing art and poetry in public places like train stations, where people don’t expect to see it, is a great way of introducing it to the public. We’re encouraging everyone who has ever written, or thought about writing, a poem to get involved. The competition is open to all ages and all abilities and we’re looking forward to sharing your poems with our customers.”
For full details of the competition and to submit entries go to www.nexus.org.uk/poetry