Calderdale’s young Poet Laureate named

Jez Walsh, Natasha Eyers, Joel Duncan, Mayor of Calderdale Pat Allen, Katie Hazel
Jez Walsh, Natasha Eyers, Joel Duncan, Mayor of Calderdale Pat Allen, Katie Hazel

A talented teen has been appointed as Calderdale’s Young Poet Laureate.

Nineteen-year-old Joel Duncan wowed judges with his poem, and received the prestigious title at a special ceremony to celebrate National Poetry Day on October 2.

Speaking after receiving his award from Mayor of Calderdale, Pat Allen, Joel said that it was amazing to have won.

Also shortlisted for title were Natasha Eyers, 18, with her poem ‘I want to be a writer’ and Katie Hazel, 13, with her poem ‘An abandoned farm’.

The young poets will now work alongside Joel to promote poetry and the arts across Calderdale.

Gez Walsh, children’s poet and comedian and Calderdale’s adult Poet Laureate, was also in attendance and will guide Joel in his new post.

Gez works to promote literacy within the district and is currently involved in the Relight-ED programme, which aims to help students in school fulfil their potential in education

He said: “We’re trying to open our own writing school and we want to give young people a chance. It will be the first step to giving young writers some representation.”

It is also hoped that a book will be put together to showcase the best of Calderdale’s talented young writers.

Read the shortlisted poems below.

Joel Duncan’s winning entry:

A valley hidden, Calderdale unknown,

The parent of many where souls have flown

Lay upon the apple green grass,

Feel the wind teasing the trees,

Our Mackintosh chocolate will please you with ease,

Our history is a mystery, a dark secret we bury

Our past is enough to make any child worry,

This is the real land of opportunity,

Where anything goes,

Become a legend of your time,

Someone everyone knows,

With words we arise, our moments crystallise,

We can never truly die,

Forever immortalised.

‘An Abandoned Farm’ by Katie Hazel.

Through my window I see no star,

I see a much closer mysterious farm,

Horses live and sleep,

But I don’t know who crosses the deep.

Someone or something must live there.

All the public know,

There is a gap where the wind blows.

The place is silent and unaware.

The farm laid out like a patchwork quilt,

The barn one of the many stone houses built.

The sky is clear,

While I see a lost deer.

Through my window I see no star,

I see a much closer mysterious farm.

‘The Face of Calderdale’ by Natasha Eyers.

Look into the eyes of her soul.

Closeness clasps the bonds of time.

Inside one window, lays the vacant space of her empty hopes and dreams.

Inside the other, grows fields of lush, luxurious lives.

Touch the brittle mouth of history where the whispers of fact and fiction meet.

Its wine leaves her drunk with power yet too afraid to speak.

Listen to the babble and break of her nose, forming paths that mark the edges of watery cracks.

Taste the fragment of each ear as she echoes the songs of forgotten men.

Stop. Take it all in.