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02 July 2024

Given Words returns for its ninth year

Given Words is back with a new invitation to play with words.

This year the words will be presented in creative videos made by students of Te Parito Kōwhai Russley School, Christchurch, alongside words from their teacher Melanie Koster and the Wellington-based artist Malcolm Doidge. They will be published on 1 August and all you have to do is write a poem which includes all five words and send it in before midnight on 23 August, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day.

The Given Words competition is free to enter and is open to all New Zealand residents and citizens. Prizes will be awarded for Best Poem and Best Poem by Under-16s. The winning poems will be selected by Sophia Wilson, Pat White and Charles Olsen, and winners will receive prizes courtesy of The Cuba Press and Massey University Press.

From 1st August you will find the five words, and full details of how to participate, in Given Words, where you can also read entries from previous editions. For teachers there is a creative lesson plan available to inspire pupils.

After last year’s competition, with word videos made by students in Andalusia, Charles Olsen, director of Given Words, invited artists, poets and students across New Zealand to make their own word videos, from which this year’s words have been selected. He comments, ‘I love being able to build bridges between Spain and Aotearoa New Zealand with Given Words. Recently, Boh Harris’s winning poem from 2023 was featured on the poetry project Un poema cada semana along with activities to inspire Spanish students, and the three winning poems were shared in translation on the literary journal Trasdemar. I’m hoping the students in Andalusia will also be inspired to write poems with the words from Christchurch students!’

For more information, visit:
Given Words
Instagram @givenwords
National Poetry Day