The University of Bolton Library is delighted to announce the winner of its 2023 Poetry Competition, held in honour of Black History Month. This year's event, featuring an array of talented student poets, was adjudicated by a distinguished panel consisting of Dr. Ben Wilkinson, Jeff Dawson (aka Jeffarama!), and Sasha Roper.
After careful consideration and a split decision reflecting the diverse perspectives of our judges, the first prize has been awarded to Ifeoma Ogbo for their outstanding poem, "BLACK HISTORY MONTH." This poem is a powerful homage to influential and inspirational Black women throughout history.
Jeff Dawson praised the poem, saying, "I loved Ifeoma's tribute to inspirational black women... very well thought out poem and clearly a lot of work has gone into writing it!" His remarks underscore the poem's resonance with important historical figures such as Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks.
Dr. Ben Wilkinson commended Ifeoma's poem for its rhythmic beauty and vivid imagery, particularly praising the way it brings Maya Angelou's poetic words to life. His comment highlights the poem's artistic merit: "My winner has to be Ifeoma Ogbo's work... with some fine imagery, too, as Maya Angelou's poetic words are seen to take flight and soar like birds."
Ifeoma Ogbo's work stood out for its skilful blend of narrative and lyrical prowess. As the winner of this prestigious competition, Ifeoma receives a £50 gift voucher. The second-place recipient, who also delivered an impressive submission, receives a £20 voucher.
"BLACK HISTORY MONTH" is a testament to the power of poetry to explore and celebrate our shared history. It serves as an inspiration and highlights the University of Bolton's commitment to nurturing a vibrant and inclusive community of creative voices.
We congratulate Ifeoma Ogbo on this significant achievement and extend our thanks to all participants for their contributions to this enriching event. The University of Bolton remains dedicated to artistic expression and cultural dialogue. We eagerly anticipate future events that celebrate words and poetry's transformative power.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH by Ifeoma Ogbo
In the tapestry of time, they stand with grace,
Black women, warriors of every place.
Their stories woven deep in history's scroll,
In Black History Month, let's extol their role.
From Sojourner Truth, who declared her truth,
To Kamala Harris, in the halls of youth.
Black women rise, they break each ceiling,
Their strength and brilliance, so revealing.
Harriet Tubman, a conductor of the light,
Guided souls to freedom through the darkest night.
Her courage boundless, her heart so true,
A beacon of hope, for me and for you.
Maya Angelou's words like birds took flight,
Her verses soared, reaching infinite height.
With her pen, she painted dreams so vast,
In the hearts of many, her legacy will last.
Rosa Parks, who took a stand on that bus,
A symbol of resistance, she showed us trust.
In her defiance, a spark did ignite,
A movement that fought for what's right.
Audre Lorde, with words that fiercely burn,
A poet, a warrior, from whom we learn.
Her prose and poems, a call to action,
To dismantle oppression, a rightful reaction.
Michelle Obama, grace personified,
A first lady, a leader, with dignity beside.
She championed education, health, and more,
An inspiration for generations to explore.
Black women healers, educators, too,
Shaping minds and futures, like morning dew.
In science, art, and countless fields,
Their brilliance and resilience, society yields.
From Shirley Chisholm to Angela Davis' voice,
These women demanded justice, gave us a choice.
In the face of adversity, they boldly stood,
Their power and presence, for all to be understood.
In every era, in every walk of life,
Black women have shone through struggle and strife.
In Black History Month, we celebrate their might,
For they are the stars that light up the night.
So let us honor them, with voices raised high,
Black women, our heroes, reaching for the sky.
In unity and strength, let us stand and say,
Their legacy lives on, every single day.
The second placed poem was 'Beyond my hair' by Jade Seaton:
Beyond my hair by Jade Seaton
I am my hair my hair, my hair is me, struggle and strife are all we seem to see.
I am my hair my hair, my hair is me, strong and tough is what we must be.
I am my hair my hair, my hair is me, love and respect are what we demand from thee.
I am my hair my hair, my hair is me oh please oh please let us be free!