Showcasing the winners of the Creative Manchester Poetry Competition 2021

Read the winning poems of the Creative Manchester Poetry Competition 2021, presented in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and the Geological Society of London.

The Judging of the Schools Poetry Competition 2021
The Judging of the Schools Poetry Competition 2021

World Poetry Day 2021 saw poets being called to explore both their written creativity and ‘Space’ within Twitter’s 280-character limit. University Chancellor Lemn Sissay, the Centre for New Writing’s Professor of Poetry, John McAuliffe, Ledbury Critic, Maryam Hessavi and Poet and Librarian at the Geological Society of London, Michael McKimm, judged 300+ entries based on their imagery, sound, language and form.

Read the three winning poems below, as well an additional ten poems which were highly commended by the judges.

The Winners

First Place (£500)

Anna O



lead, if you

zoom in on it

with a microscope

is first a dark expanse,

but each magnification

reveals candescent clusters:

galaxy filament in graphite -

Let my pencil leave gauzy

comet tails in its wake,

nebula of dreams

across the stark

cosmos of



Runner-up (£250)

Hawwa W

Gaza makes a poet-me/I imagine myself in space/3 bombs exploded by Maghreb-meteorites/the leftover sparks-stars/they smell like fire/gifts of the sun/tiny replications-Mercury/when our soldiers fall-asteroids melt-extinction/God of the Solars, save us little stars

Runner-up (£250)

Perseverance by Naro A
















asifto escape

Under 18s Winner

Meteor Destruction by Ivy M

a terrifying thought to think

that comets can pull planets off the brink

catastrophic collisions to species extinct

but impossible to ignore the link

although it’s raining rocks and ember

it’s important to remember

that within those rocks is water

and with chaos, comes order.

Highly Commended

Visitors – The View From Mars by G Riley

Visitors? Here? Now? 

After all this time? 

Do you see it floating down? 

I’ve not even tidied up. 

Where from? 

Earth is only 37 million miles away at this time of year. 

It’s on wheels! 

They could have told us they were coming. 

It’s taking pictures. 

It must be a cry for help. 

We should help. 

Simon S

Give me space you said

and I


opened my hands

above my head

so the distant jewels

of the farthest white stars

shone between my fingers.


You know they are already dead

you said

and I said yes

I know.

When The Rascal Met The Stars by Adaeze Onwuelo

to the gilt and bronze telescope

the woe-wreathed rascal ran

to the narrow entrance

that peeled the banalities away

and stripped the world of its wonder

and dumped it into the expansive

universe. A waterfall of sighs

tumbled out. He stood, shocked

and still at the spangled stars

Neil F

4 October 1957

One starry moonless night my father

took me onto the roof of the block of flats 

of which he was the caretaker

After we had climbed the iron stairs

into the cool air he pointed above the horizon 

of rooftops to the one among all the stars

that yesterday had not been there

Tohaku M

in your eyes the sun is honey, in my dreams it is sienna and ochre, like the earth, like heaven, like my sin dripping from your skin. and i understand that the sun has left. in my sun-less exile i walk earthlessly as the stars turn to dust, falling like unshed tears.


so much depends



the red super



grazed by gravity



beside the white



Take a lino block,

carve the night sky.

Think in reverse,

uncut areas carry colour.

Add scratches for interest,

squeeze ink into a tray,

roll on and off…

Place paper on top,

press with a wooden spoon

then peel away,

to see


where stars should be.

Laika by Grae T

sent into space

to wrap the nation’s flag

like a handkerchief

around the galaxies

overheats & stars

become the red flecks

behind closed lids

as God strokes her face

in bright sleep. Dreams

of Moscow –

oh, the newspaper streets!

Matter by Max G

As godly winds contort Neptune's blues,

as the Red Spot rumbles and Venus blisters,

I lay here wondering

-the summer sun sinking-

why does it still matter

that today it rained?

Adeene D

A planet lives if it is moving

If it breathes fire and spits gas

Birthing new ground faster than old hills can decay

Until the day it shudders

To a stop

Then mountains crumble

Valleys fill

Atmosphere picked off by solar wind

Planets live loud

And die quiet