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We invited students to write a poem based on this year's competition theme, 'Who am I?'.

Our Poetry Competition is a brilliant opportunity for young writers to compete internationally and showcase their talent. 

Each school could submit up to one entry per category. 

  • Key Stage 1 & 2
  • Key Stage 3
  • Key Stage 4 & 5
     

We received close to 270 entries from students in 142 COBIS schools worldwide. Well done to all students who entered and congratulations to our competition winners!  

Winners and Runners-up

The winners and runners-up are listed below, along with the judges' comments. To read each poem, please click on the student's name.
 

Key Stage 1-2


Winner: Vladislava Kosolapova, aged 10, British International School Moscow

"I chose this poem because it does several things very well, using both interesting metaphors and structure to tell its story. The first half of the poem is very regular, with four stanzas that each ask a question and use an ‘abb’ rhyme scheme. Then the form changes on the line “I am a problem fixer”. This four-line stanza actually creates a problem in the poem as it breaks the neatness we’d seen up until now. But over the next three stanzas, the poet finds an answer to the question of “Who am I?” and creates a new structure and rhyme scheme (‘aabb’) to hold the answer. Who we are changes over time, sometimes our identity feels simple and sometimes it is complicated. I think this poem captures so much of that complexity!"


Runner-up: Katya Minakova, aged 9, The English International College, Marbella

"There is a wonderful variety in the animal metaphors. The rhymes are fun and the word choices are very effective."

Key Stage 3


Winner: Jia Chun, aged 13, BEK Secondary School

"This poem uses both its form and content to tell its story. Every stanza is a couplet with many chopped up thoughts that are interrupted by the hyphens, commas and line breaks. You really feel the character’s ‘hands trembling, / knees buckling’. The title invites us to repeat the words ‘cue’ and ‘cut’ as we read, trying to place when the character is acting on cue (‘one, two, three – / step, rest, and twirl’) and when they are cutting away (‘Don’t think, just do’). It feels like someone’s identity has been taken apart and they are putting it back together on their own terms. And it’s a great example of how straight-forward language can be made to be so effective."


Runner-up: Audrey Allen, aged 11, British School of Bucharest

"This poem delighted in its amusing self-awareness. What is the identity of the poem itself? This extended metaphor gives us a deep insight into the poet’s own character, as they try on many poetic styles before settling on free-verse."

Key Stage 4-5


Winner: Raizza Rano, aged 16, Oryx International School

"This was a powerful journey through the harsh expectations placed on young people today – the pressure to be always ‘better’ and not necessarily ‘happier’. This was a common theme in many of the Key Stage 4-5 poems. What set the winner apart were two things: the refrain of “Who am I?” is used effectively, changed slightly each time; we can see the poet changing in response to the question. The final line is both sorrowful and hopeful, creating a light out of what may seem like a hopeless moment. Expressing ourselves gives us relief, but it also pushes us to action: the final line is a call to action for the reader as well as the poet. We all want to be happy, but how will we achieve that? Writing a poem is the first step to achieving happiness – and I’m excited to see what the next one could be."


Runner-up: Naira Yassengaliyeva, aged 17, Haileybury Astana

"The poet has a strong sense of rhythm and rhyme. The poem ends on the enticing word – ‘vast’ – conveying the great possibilities at their feet."

Judges

The competition entries were judged by a panel of teachers and literature professionals. The highest scored entries in each category were submitted to our guest judge, Ali Al-Jamri, who made the final selection. We would like to thank all judges for their time and expertise, including teachers from COBIS Schools, experts from COBIS Supporting Associates  and professionals from the writing industry.

To register your interest in judging the competition in future, please contact students@cobis.org.uk.

We would like to thank Collins for sponsoring our 2022-23 Poetry Competition.