National Black History Month Poetry Competition Highlights World Poetry Day with Celebratory Reception

Marking an exceptional celebration of World Poetry Day, the National Black History Month Poetry Competition, under the inspiring theme “Saluting Our Sisters,” reached its grand culmination today. Hosted by BHM Magazine UK, this pivotal competition was conceived as a tribute to the Black History Month 2023, focusing on celebrating the invaluable contributions of Black women and bringing to the forefront the emerging poetic talents from young people and the African and Caribbean communities.

Engaging over 3000  poets across the nation, the competition highlighted the indispensable role of poetry in fostering education and cultural expression. From an overwhelming number of submissions, a panel of esteemed judges shortlisted 105 exceptional poems, with 17 talented poets advancing to the final stage.

The reception, held in the distinguished Churchill Rooms at the House of Commons and hosted by Marsha Chantal de Cordova, not only celebrated the achievements of the finalists and their families but also underscores the collective voice and transformative power showcased in this year’s competition.

Reflecting on the competition’s journey, the organisers shared, “The National Black History Month Poetry Competition was a key highlight of the Black History Month 2023 celebrations, under the theme ‘Saluting Our Sisters’. Aimed at honouring the legacies of Black women and spotlighting new voices within the African and Caribbean communities, the competition has reached its zenith on World Poetry Day and International Women’s Month, thanks to the overwhelming participation and the remarkable talent it has unveiled.”

Cherron Inko-Tariah

Esteemed voices from the literary world have lauded the competition:

Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Joseph Coelho, award-winning performance poet, playwright, children’s author and Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2022 – 2024, remarked, “It was a joy reading and judging the poems for the BHM Saluting Sisters Poetry Competition. I was amazed by the strength and poetic power of these brilliant young voices.”

Cherron Inko-Tariah, Editor-in-Chief of BHM UK Magazine, commented, “Being involved in this poetry competition has been an absolute delight. The diversity and passion in the submissions were outstanding. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to making this competition a success.”

Rob Neil, a judge for the competition, shared, “The experience of reading through these engaging, informative, and impactful poems was incredibly rewarding. The quality of writing and the range of topics covered were inspiring. I am grateful to all participants for sharing their heartfelt words.”

Another judge Charlotte Shyllon, founder and creative director of Black in White said: “It was a great honour to be involved in judging the national BHM poetry competition. There were so many superb entries which demonstrated a breadth and depth of talent across both age categories, from entrants as young as 15 right through to older adults. I really enjoyed seeing how the poems presented different takes on the theme. The quality of the entries made selecting winners and runners-up difficult, but the poems I chose just had that extra special touch. Thanks to all who took the time to enter the competition and share their stories.”

We extend profound gratitude to Marsha De Cordova MP for graciously hosting this significant event. Additionally, our principal sponsors, Kidoodle TV and Wedo TV, deserve special acknowledgment for their instrumental support in bringing this competition to fruition. Their commitment has been vital in amplifying the voices of young poets and ensuring the success of this celebration.

As we commemorated World Poetry Day, the National Black History Month Poetry Competition stands as a beacon of creativity, diversity, and cultural appreciation, celebrating both the enduring legacy of Black women and the dynamic talents of young people and our community.

Children’s Category – Ione Knight

Young Teens Category – Ebun Allen

Older Teens Category – Sasha Cummings

Adults Category – Marie Williams