Event date: 23 February, 2023 · Performing Arts Centre, Putney High School

Poetry Festival 2023

Alumnae, Arts, Celebration, Events, General, Guests, News, Performance, Senior School, Sixth Form

The Poetry Festival 2023 took place on the evening of Thursday 23 February.

As always, the evening gave students the opportunity to present and perform selected pieces of their work and this year it did not disappoint.

The English Department was thrilled with the quality of the poems, with subjects ranging from caterpillars to cuckoo clocks. It was a huge pleasure to welcome Lily Blacksell as our adjudicator.

Lily is an alumna and published poet, who recalled fond memories of performing in the Poetry Festival herself. She took part in the PHS Poetry Festival every year from year 7 to 13, and has been singing its praises and feeling its benefits ever since!

Lily was extremely complimentary about the standard of work and read aloud Richard Wilbur’s poem, ‘The Writer’, a suitably inspiring choice. We wholeheartedly endorse her passionate encouragement to ‘keep writing’!


Guest Judge - Lily Blacksell

Lily Blacksell is a poet and Putney High alumna living in London. Her poems have appeared in publications such as Poetry Review, Boston Review and BOMB Magazine. In 2022, she was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and the Oxford Poetry Prize. Her two pamphlets are There’s No Such Thing (ignition press) and Stressed, Tested (Rough Trade Books). She has an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow.

Lily works as a Literature Programmer at the Southbank Centre and is also the Public Events and Partnerships Manager for the Royal Society of Literature. She runs a poetry and music night called Canon Fodder.


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