Old Buckenham High School selects new poet laureate

Old Buckenham poet laureate Niamh McAllister
Old Buckenham poet laureate Niamh McAllister

An award-winning author has helped decide Norfolk school’s poet laureate for the coming year.

Old Buckenham High School nominated students were tasked with writing a poem about something they feel strongly about.

A panel, comprising of staff, governors, Old Buckenham High School’s 2012 Poet laureate Georgina Dunkinson and members of the Attleborough Writers’ Group, judged the poem.

In addition, Carnegie Book award-winning author Kevin Crossley-Holland was welcomed onto the panel for this year.

The honour fell to Year 10 student Niamh McAllister, who wrote a poem titled Hope.

Her role will include writing a poem to be included in each of the school’s newsletters and on their website, as well as her work being commissioned for various events throughout the year.

As Niamh’s winning work was intensely personal and about a very emotive subject she has chosen it as her first published work of the year.

Mr Crossley-Holland said: “Not only is it technically competent but it is driven by real emotional urgency and by compassion.”


by Niamh McAllister

Somedays all I feel is a familiar numbness,

others I feel such consuming anger that I find it hard to cope.

Even when I’m happy, I’m wary of my shadow,

because all of these emotions revolve around hope.

When I was little I wanted to be a stone collector.

I would pick up so many and stare in awe,

I couldn’t understand how nature could create such a thing.

You see, the world seemed so perfect when I was four.

As I grew older I was told how unrealistic my dream was.

I wasn’t lulled into a false sense of security.

But the same mouths preached that I could do anything—

with a little hope, determination and faith.

Do you know what you want?

Do you know what you feel?

Do you know who you are?

Do you know what is real?

How can you expect us to know

when everything we’ve been taught is contradicted?

Even our body image is distorted by a so-called ideal.

All views are confused and


What we want and what we need is different.

We need a society where everyone is viewed as beautiful in a way.

So I live my life by hope—

hope that the concept of perfect imperfection will evolve one day.