Alumnus wins coveted poetry prize



New Poet

We’re thrilled to learn that one of our Creative Writing graduates, Callan Waldron-Hall, was recently recognised for his outstanding writing at the Poetry Business New Poets Prize.

After graduating from LJMU in 2016, Leicestershire born Callan has gone on to complete an MA and now works for a local arts organisation in Liverpool. Callan received the award for his poetry collection titled: Learning to be Very Soft, which was highly praised by judge Mary Jean Chan (author of A Hurry of English.) Chan said of Callan’s work:

“This is a collection suffused with vivid imagery, with various forms of water ("the pool", "the floods", "the river" and "the sea") occurring throughout the text. I admired Waldron-Hall's ability to hone in on the complexity of relationships through verse at once - startling and tender”

Image of Callan Waldron-HallCallan commented:

“Being a winner of the 2018/19 New Poets Prize is really exciting! I’m looking forward to working with The Poetry Business to continue improving my poetry. I’m also particularly grateful for the mentorship I received from my tutors during my time at LJMU – including Helen Tookey, Andrew McMillan, Carola Luther and Seán Hewitt – who all helped me figure out what (and why!) I wanted to write.”

Read a poem taken from Callan’s moving collection:

Amelia arrives after the floods

Amelia has come to stay
           for the week, says the floods

in her town got too bad,
           found their way inside her house

and ruined her favourite sofa.
           Amelia says next time she will remember

to draw her curtains more tightly.
           She says she has never seen rain

come down the way it did
           against her roof, that there was a lot

she had to leave behind:
           her best comb, her sharpest scissors

she’d treasured for years. She says
           she hadn’t used them for the longest time

but that doesn’t matter much.
           As soon as she arrives she goes

into the kitchen and turns
           the tap on, says the water here

is nothing like the riverstreet
           at home. She tells us to watch

as the sink fills up and spills
           over the lip. She laughs

when her shoes get wet, says
           look how she can make it stop.

If you’re inspired by Callan’s work and are looking to study on a Creative Writing degree, LJMU has a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses with places available.



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