National Schools Poetry Award for 2015 – the results


I was delighted to see this award reinstated, and that some students would have a chance to do a workshop at IIML. Bravo! I was also delighted to see The NZ Herald do a decent feature on the result, with the winning poem posted in full. Bravo!

Congratulations to all those who were short listed and especially to Grace Lee.


Grace Lee, a Year 13 student at Auckland International College, has won the National Schools Poetry Award for 2015. Grace won the award for her poem ‘Eileithyia’, which she says was inspired by the timeless ritual of birth.

Cliff Fell—competition judge, poet and Victoria Teaching Fellow—says ‘Eileithyia’ is about the most universal of all things, being born. The title refers to the Greek goddess of childbirth and the poem renews the ancient rituals and rites relating to childbirth by seeing them through young, contemporary eyes. What drew Cliff to the poem was the gusto and exuberant music of its lines and imagery. “This is a poem that is unashamedly in love with the idea of life, and which conveys an emotion that is inevitably compelling.”

Grace was one of ten finalists in the poetry competition for Year 12 and 13 secondary school students. Entries came from senior secondary students all over New Zealand. Grace will receive $500 cash, as well as a $500 book grant for her school library. Her poem will be displayed on posters throughout New Zealand. In addition, Grace and the nine other finalists will attend a poetry masterclass at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University’s creative writing hub, which takes place this weekend.

You can read the winning poem and those of the runners up here.

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