The Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017

We are delighted to announce the launch of the fourth annual Timothy Corsellis Prize!

Gipsy Moth aircraft. Image from Lute Alumni.
Gipsy Moth aircraft. Image from Lute Alumni.

Timothy Corsellis was a young poet and pilot killed in 1941. The Prize was set up in his name, with the support of his family, to encourage more people to read the powerful but lesser-known poets of the Second World War.

The Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize asks you to respond to the life and/or work of a small selection of Second World War poets, including Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, Anna Akhmatova and Timothy Corsellis.

After the successful introduction of Anna Akhmatova to the roster of poets in 2016, this year we are delighted to further expand this list to include the German Jewish poet, Gertrud Kolmar.

We are also once more running our Young Critics Prize, for short essays of 500-1,500 words exploring which three poets (out of Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, Anna Akhmatova, Gertrud Kolmar or Timothy Corsellis) are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time, and why.  If you’re looking for inspiration, why not read last year’s winning essay, ‘I wandered lonely as a war-poet: Locating the individual in the unimaginable’ by Henry Wong.

The judges for both Prizes will be celebrated poet Wendy Cope; Professor Fran Brearton (for the War Poets Association), a leading authority on war poetry and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast; Llewela Selfridge on behalf of the Imperial War Museum in London; and Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society.

Planes

How to enter the Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize
1. Read this brief article placing Second World War Poetry in the context of the history of war poetry.
2. Read more about the eight WWII poets featured in the Prize, and explore some of their poems.
3. Choose one or more poet/s and write a poem in response to their life and/or poetry. It can be anything about their life or work, whatever inspires you.
4. Send your poem in the body of an email to educationadmin@poetrysociety.org.uk with the subject line ‘Corsellis Poetry Prize 2017’. Remember to include your name, age, the county you live in, if you’re based in the UK, or the country you live in if you’re based outside the UK.
5. Include a short commentary (up to 300 words) explaining the way in which your poem is a response to the life or work of the WWII poet/s.
6. The deadline for entries is Thursday 14 September 2017.

How to enter the Timothy Corsellis Young Critics Prize
For people who love writing about poetry outside the confines of a mark scheme! Last year’s winner, Henry Wong, told us that “it has been great fun researching and writing” his winning essay, which focussed on  Sidney Keyes, Timothy Corsellis and Anna Akhmatova.

1. Read this brief article placing Second World War Poetry in the context of the history of war poetry.
2. Read more about the eight WWII poets featured in the Prize.
3. Consider which three poets you think are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time. What is it about their work that will ensure their relevance to future generations? What makes their work long-lastingly powerful? Feel free to discuss individual poems. There are no right or wrong questions or answers, and you can approach the prose piece in any way you choose.
4. Send your essay (500-1,500 words) as a Word document attachment to educationadmin@poetrysociety.org.uk, with the subject line ‘Corsellis Young Critics 2017’. Remember to include your name, age, the county you live in, if you’re based in the UK, or the country you live in if you’re based outside the UK.
5. The deadline for entries is Thursday 14 September 2017.

Calling all teachers!
We warmly encourage teachers to send in their students’ entries to both the Poetry Prize and the Young Critics Prize. We have a free, downloadable lesson plan to help bring Second World War poetry into your classroom. This discusses one of Timothy Corsellis’ poems in-depth, encouraging students to closely analyse the poem in order to write their own.

If you’d like to enter a set of entries from your students – and we would love to receive these! – then simply email the poems and /or essays to educationadmin@poetrysociety.org.uk, or post them to us at Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017, The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London, WC2H 9BX. Please ensure that each entry is labelled with the student’s name, age, and the name of the school.

Prizes

This challenge is now closed. Thank you to everyone who has submitted! You can read the winning poems through the links at the top left hand side of this page, and the winning essay, ‘The Second World War Poetry of Alun Lewis, Keith Douglas and Henry Reed: Envisioning the War Poet Anew’ by Yasmin Samrai, here.

Poppy field

Young Poets Network would like to thank the Corsellis family for their generosity in establishing this Prize and their continuing support of The Poetry Society.

 

10 thoughts on “The Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017

    1. Hi Lottie,

      The 8 WWII poets are: Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, Anna Akhmatova, Gertrud Kolmar and Timothy Corsellis. You can find more about them here: ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/features/the-timothy-corsellis-prize-poetry-of-the-second-world-war

      Best of luck!

      Helen at Young Poets Network

  1. Hi,
    Is it safe to assume that my poem has been received, or should a confirmation have been sent to me? I was also wondering where I can read previous winning poems? Thanks so much, I appreciate your time!

    Have a great day,
    Maya

    1. Hi Maya,

      Thanks for getting in touch! I’ve just checked and we have one entry from you into the August challenge #3 (which will be entered into the Corsellis Prize) entitled ‘We of Atomity’. Let me know if that’s correct! If you’d like us to confirm that we’ve received your entry, in future you can write ‘confirm receipt’ in the title of your email.

      You can find previous winners’ poems here: poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/timothy-corsellis-prize/2016-2 (This is the page for 2016 and you can find other years in the left sidebar.) I hope you enjoy them, and thanks again for your enquiry!

      Best of luck in the competition,

      Helen at Young Poets Network

      1. Hi Helen,
        Thanks so much for answering my questions with such promptness! I actually submitted a poem each to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd August Challenges, as well as a separate one to the Corsellis Prize. Now that I know how to get a receipt in the future, I will make sure to do that; but, for now, if you could check that those four individual entries have been registered, that would be very reassuring to me.

        Thanks again. I really appreciate your time!

        Maya

        1. Hi Maya,

          No worries! In August challenge #1 we have ‘The Boneyard’ for you, and for challenge #2 ‘The Ghosts of New York Harbour’ (and #3 as I said before). I can’t see one for you separately in the Corsellis Prize, though, so good job you checked! Please send that over as soon as you can (but I’ll keep a look out for it, and don’t panic about the deadline).

          Helen at YPN

          1. Hi Helen,
            I just resent my Corsellis submission, this time asking for a receipt. Hope it works now. Thanks very much for helping me out!

            Maya

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