Earlier this year we launched our poetry competition in celebration of National Poetry Day. Every so often, our sister company, SecuriCare, receive a poem from a happy customer so we thought this would be the ideal opportunity to invite all CliniMed customers and SecuriCare service users to show off their creative writing skills, whilst also raising awareness for the ostomate community. The theme was ‘change’ and we suggested that poems could relate to anything from how surgery has changed your life, to how a particular product has changed your routine.
We were not disappointed! The competition ran over a 5 week period and we received 20 entries from a diverse group of people. Every entry was a high-quality piece of poetry and we have no idea how our guest judge, Rachel Piercey, managed to pick her winners!
Rachel is a London-based poet who writes for children. She’s the editor of the Emma Press and winner of the 2016 Michael Marks Publisher Award. In addition, Rachel has family ties to the owners of CliniMed and used to work for the company herself, so was familiar with the competition’s audience and theme. All poems were submitted to her anonymously and she spent a week carefully reading through, before letting us know who had won.
1st place went to Rakhee Patel and her poem, Technicolour. Rakhee is from Loughborough and regularly writes about ostomate life and raising awareness. We contacted Rakhee to let her know she’d won and she thought it was great news, “It's lovely to know the poem was heard and appreciated” she said. Rakhee won a poetry book bundle and a £30 Waterstones voucher, which she can’t wait to spend!
2nd place was awarded to Gabi MacEwan and her poem, Something Inside. Gabi is from Teignmouth and was very pleased to hear she’d won a prize of £20 Waterstones vouchers and a poetry book, "I love books and have some long hospital visits to get through so it's made me very happy."
3rd place went to Nick Axtell and his poem, That’s My Bag. Nick is from Wirral and was our most surprised winner. He told us, “Coming third is a complete shock, especially when up against 19 other people. I’m a Poet and I didn't know it. It’s nice to reinforce to myself that I should always try something new or different, sometimes I shock even myself.”
When first considering writing poetry Nick had thought, “Nope, not for me.” However, he soon had a change of heart, “I would find myself laid in bed thinking of how I could do it… drawing inspirations and ideas from musical influences, and things that inspire me. The trouble was that when I woke up all those ideas had gone. It was 3 weeks before I put finger to keyboard, typing down random phrases and experiences that the poem came into being.”
If you’d considered entering the competition but didn’t feel confident enough, perhaps you can take some inspiration from our winners and give it a shot next time – we loved reading everyone’s work and we really appreciate the time and energy that was given.
As we were so impressed with the entries we received, we’ve decided to publish every single one of them in a booklet that will be available via our website later in the year. These poems deserve to be heard! Be sure to follow us on Facebook so you can keep up to date with the anthology’s progress, and be the first to hear about any new competitions we launch next year.