Poetry of Science

Entries are now open for the 2024 Poetry of Science competition

Can you write a terrific scientific poem? IF Oxford is seeking budding poets between 5 and 16 years old to become wondrous wordsmiths and enter the 8th annual Poetry of Science competition this spring.

Finalists in the three age categories will take centre stage and perform their poems as part of the science and ideas Festival in October 2024.

Enter now

Closing date: Friday 3 May 2024

 

Who can enter?

The competition is open to any child in the UK, between 5 and 16 years old and will be judged in three age categories:

  • Age 5 – 7
  • Age 8 – 11
  • Age 12 – 16

Entries can be made through your school, or individually, with your parent / guardian’s consent. Please make sure your entry form has contact details for either your teacher or parent / guardian.

 

What can I win?

The winning poet and two runners up from each age category will:

  • have poems published in a special Festival anthology
  • attend a celebratory event in Oxford in October
  • perform poems in front of a live audience
  • meet professional poets
  • receive prizes including poetry books and science kits

 

What sort of poem can I write?

Your poem should be a maximum of 150 words and can be in any poetry style you like and doesn’t have to rhyme. How about trying one of these poem types:

  • limerick
  • haiku
  • acrostic poem
  • rap
  • sonnet

Your poem should have something to do with science and great ideas. It could be about:

  • a scientific idea or discovery
  • a science lesson or experiment
  • a scientific issue that is important to you

Science is important in all of our lives and can benefit:

  • Animal and plants
  • Climate and nature
  • The food we eat
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Sustainability & recycling

Every year, the judges get to read hundreds of superb entries about all of these topics and more, so get your imagination fired up and create your own poem to be in the running for some great prizes!

 

Who are the judges?

Claire Hamnett is a physics teacher at Oxford Spires Academy, Specialist Leader in Education and leader of the Oxfordshire Science Learning Partnership, the local branch of STEM Learning which works with primary and secondary teachers to achieve a world-leading Science education for young people.

Tara Stubbs is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education and a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. She works on modern contemporary poetry and fiction, and has led public engagement projects around the use and understanding of contemporary poetry in society.

Grace Copeland is an Oxford-based poet and author passionate about bringing science, through art, to a wider audience. She is currently working on her first poetry collection and is studying an MSt in Creative Writing at Somerville College, University of Oxford. Alongside this, she is working in prison education, supporting men with learning and mental health difficulties.

Zoë Brigley is the award-winning author of three books of poetry published by Bloodaxe: Hand & Skull (2019), Conquest (2012), and The Secret (2007). She is editor of Poetry Wales and Poetry Editor for Seren Books. She was co-editor of the Seren anthology 100 Poems to Save the Earth (2021).

Dane Comerford is the Director of IF Oxford, the science and ideas Festival.

 

What else do I need to know?

Entries are limited to one poem per child.

Your poems and the Poetry of Science project form an important part of IF Oxford. The authors of the poems become the youngest presenters at the Oxford science and ideas Festival and their work is published in an anthology. Poems can be inspired by other poetry, but must be original work because all entries are covered by the IF Oxford Contributor Policy terms and conditions.

Teachers / community group leaders wishing to submit multiple entries can download a multiple entries cover sheet to email along with your class / group entries to poetry@if-oxford.com with the words ‘Poetry Competition Entry’ in the subject line.

Download multiple entry cover sheet

 

Help promote the competition

You can help spread the word about the competition by displaying a poster in your school or youth club, or on social media

Download poster (PDF)

Download poster (JPG)

 

Need inspiration?

Read the collections of poems from past Poetry of Science winners. Your poem could be in the 2024 anthology!

2023 anthology

2022 anthology

2021 anthology

2020 anthology

2019 anthology  

2018 anthology

2017 anthology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are grateful to the following for supporting this competition: