Words of Unity
Poetry Competition

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The Words of Unity poetry competition is now closed. 

With more than 2,400 poems submitted, the team are astounded by the quality from across the country.

Thank you to everyone for entering.

At Global Acts of Unity we use the power of words every day to help spread a message of unity, tolerance and understanding. Out national poetry competition asked young people to share their own words about what ‘unity’ means to them.

WINNER!

We are delighted to announce that Liv Goldreich, a 15-year-old pupil at Highgate School in North London has won the national Words of Unity poetry competition with her poem expressing 'unity'.

Liv has won £100 of vouchers and £500 worth of supplies for her school. The winning poem was chosen by a panel of Mike Haines OBE, founder of Global Acts of Unity; Imogen Russell Williams, children's book critic and poet; and British-Cypriot poet Anthony Anaxagorou. 

A huge well done to the three runners up who will also receive a £50 voucher. 

Olympia Onslow, 16
Cheltenham Ladies College.

Lila Dhiri, 13, Highgate School

Katy Ottaway, 13, Cotswold School 

Liv Goldreich, 15

Liv Goldreich, winner of the competition said:

“I was thrilled when I found out I won the Words of Unity poetry competition. For me, poetry is a way to process thoughts and feelings, and to have validation from a competition is empowering. My English teacher inspired my class to enter and after reading about Mike’s story, his passion, commitment and bravery really struck me. 

I chose to write about London, I’m proud and lucky to be a Londoner and in my poem I wanted to try and capture a moment when everyone feels united. It’s sometimes difficult to observe these moments of togetherness and yet, these short moments of solidarity are strangely beautiful and meaningful. For minutes, we all share a joint experience as passengers.”

Imogen Russell Williams – children’s book critic and poet said: 

“I was very impressed with the layers and texture in the winning poem. The resigned exasperation felt by everyone on the halted bus is an unusual take on the idea of Uniy, but one that feels instantly recognisable – an everyday irritable camaraderie.”

Anthony Anaxagorou – British-Cypriot poet, said:

“What attracted me to the winning poem was its distinct use of metaphor and imagery to guide round the call for both humanism and collective action against global division. The need to have poetry and language offer hope, unity and comfort right now has never been more pressing.”

Mike Haines OBE – founder of Global Acts of Unity said:

“As we went through the poems I was astounded by how talented our youth are. The winning poem made you want to read more, to sink into the words and so instantly recognisable. I now have that poem framed on my wall.”

Motley Crew

Liv Goldreich (15)

Year 10, Highgate School

Our backs stick to the bus seats

as we’re suspended midway.

Exasperation festers in the heat,

many-hued voices

intermingling in the humidity.

“Yes, I’ll be late,”

a woman grates as our gazes meet,

the briefest exchange of mouth twitches

acknowledging mutual discontent.

 

A man in his seventies, garbed in tweed, simmering red,

rises, cane denting the gum-strewn floor.

“My granddaughter’s just been born!”

Flurries of applause,

contortions of lips in half-smiles

and back to screens.

A baby is wailing and all

look wearily out of the window

as a boy swings pendulum-like from

yellow handles.

 

At last, the engine revs,

wheels slapping

braising asphalt.

Two men joke in Polish,

thump each other on the back.

A woman mutters relief in Kurdish,

whilst a bunch of Spanish tourists cheer from the deck above.

We arrive, descending onto the pavement,

and I watch as we disband,

London faces, never again to meet.