Nursery rhymes are the cradle of creativity for poets of the future

Buxton International Festival’s annual Poetry Competition produced outstanding works on subjects ranging from a mother’s love to quantum physics, with 200 entries coming from across the country and as far afield as California.

Lady Jasmine Cavendish, competition patron and daughter of Festival President the Duke of Devonshire, presented the prizes during its Book Weekend of talks by leading authors and personalities.

“You are creative contributors to this interesting and strange world in which we live,” she told the winners, who shared nearly £1,000 in prizes

The Festival’s Robbie Carnegie said: “Throughout the year we present an outreach programme which introduces people to the arts throughout Buxton and the High Peak, and the Poetry Competition is very much a part of this.”

The theme of the competition was Awakening: “This has produced some absolutely glorious poems and outstanding winners,” said one of the judges, former Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black, who delighted the audience with his own take on the 80th anniversary of the ballpoint pen in a piece called Go Biro.

The competition is sponsored by the University of Derby, and Dr Sarah Rawlinson, Head of Department Hotel Resort and Spa Management at the Buxton Campus, made a plea for parents to encourage their children’s creativity by reading them nursery rhymes.

“It’s great to see Buxton Festival drawing involvement from people of all ages, locally, nationally and internationally to share their love of poetry,” said Dr Rawlinson.

“A meaningful poem can forge a connection with language that is delightful, relevant and educational – which is why I was sad to hear that traditional nursery rhymes are disappearing. Nursery rhymes can inspire a lifelong love of poetry and help develop an ear for language and helps with learning to read.”

Results: Children’s Category: Commended – Aurora Blue, Highly Commended – Martha Blue, Third Prize – Oscar Hill, Second Prize –Dresden Lacey, First Prize – Poppy Hendry.

Youth Category: Commended –Lucy Barton, Highly Commended – Jacqueline He, Third Prize –Lucy Thynne, Second Prize –Mehek Sennik, First Prize –Jemma Mayler.

Open category: Commended –Helen Storey, Highly Commended Roger Elkin, Third – Marion Bond, Second – Joe Caldwell, First –Peter Burgham.

Other judges were local poets F Philip Holland and Rob Stevens, and Maria Carnegie, from the University of Derby.