Poetry on the platforms

Poets and judges at Longbenton Metro station
9 February 2023

The winning poems from Nexus’ National Poetry Day competition are now on display at a busy Metro station.

In October Nexus invited poets young and old to submit poems on the theme of ‘Home’.

182 entries were received and four - one winner and three runners up - are now on display in large poster sites at Longbenton Metro Station, which is used by more than one million customers every year.

The poems were judged by representatives from Nexus, plus two local poets, Anna Woodford and John Challis.

Jenny Carter, from Newcastle, won the competition with a poem titled ‘Sanddancer’.

She said: “This was a lovely opportunity, and I was shocked when I found out I won. It’s so nice to see my poem up at the station. All my poetry is about my family, my mam is from South Shields and she was the inspiration behind this one, she cried when I told her about it!”

The runners up were Susan Shepherd, from the Scottish Borders, Helen Kay from Cheshire and Jane Burn from Consett.

As well as having their poems on display in the station, Jenny received £100 Waterstones vouchers and membership to the Poetry Book Society and the runners up received £50 Waterstones vouchers each.

Judge Anna Woodford, an award-winning professional poet, said: “The entries were absolutely fantastic, we had such a difficult decision to make to narrow them down to these four magnificent poems.

“I’m delighted to be part of this competition, and I’d encourage anyone who’s thought about writing but never done it to just pick up a pen and start. The same with entering competitions, even if you’ve never done so before, just give it a go and see where it takes you.”

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration of poetry, on the first Thursday of October. It encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends.

Longbenton Metro station has become a hub for poetry and artworks in recent years.

Four poems reflecting on the pandemic, by professional poets, were displayed at the station in July 2021. They were replaced by poems on the theme of ‘Winter’ in December 2021, written by previous competition winners. That was followed by artwork by local children, sharing their ideas on making Metro journeys more fun, as part of the Little Inventors project.

Huw Lewis, Nexus Customer Services Director, said: “Metro has a long history of displaying art on the network. 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’ve seen a steady growth in interest in the poetry station at Longbenton since we began this project two years’ ago, and I’ll be fascinated to see how the project develops in the next few years. The standard of poems has been exceptional, and I hope our customers enjoy reading them as much as I did.”

The poems will be on display until the Spring. 

You can find out more about the competition and read the poems in full here : Poetry | nexus.org.uk

Winner Jenny Carter with her poem 'Sanddancer'
Susan Shepherd with her poem 'Home'
Jane Burn with her poem 'Cradlesong'


Poetry on the platforms - winning poetry at Longbenton Metro station

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