Student Poetry Competition 2021: Years 11-12

Emma Jones, a Year 12 student at Tintern Grammar, has won ISV’s Student Poetry Competition 2021 in the Years 11-12 category for her poem, Father and Daughter.

The competition, part of the Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted some 350 entries.


Watch Emma read the poem in the video below, and read it for yourself, along with the students awarded honourable mentions in the category for their outstanding work.


What did the judges say?

“An utterly gorgeous sensory journey through childhood with a stunning collection of images.”

Father and Daughter, by Emma Jones

My gentle father
with what must’ve taken extraordinary patience,
used to turn the pages of the book,
one by one.
The curved edges of his voice,
smoothed away by years
of living in southern England,
used to drift me to sleep.
The elocution that is so distinctively his.
Every rise and fall of his tone
made my eyelids
drop a little further.
Sometimes when he was away
we would make recordings of his voice,
so that I could listen
and miss him just a little less.
The audio occasionally
interrupted, with a giggle
or a question I thought was clever,
from when I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
He didn’t mind when I interrupted,
and he still doesn’t now.
That infinite patience
never wavering.
Eventually our voices started to alternate,
as I began to string
first syllables,
then whole words together.
‘Read it again Emsly’ he used to say.
Over and over,
the same little books with pretty little storylines
that had fairies and heroes and talking animals.
‘Now read it backwards, word for word’.
Over and over,
back and forth,
until my words were as smooth as his.
Gruelling as his methods were,
I am grudgingly grateful,
for it is clearly an essential skill
to be able to recite ‘The Three Little Pigs’ backwards.
Only joking.
My gentle father
still calls me Emsly.
A nickname intertwined
with memories of his colourful words
staining the ceiling above me
into intricate patterns
of endless adventures.

Years 11-12: Honourable mentions
  • Michaella Curtis-Morris, Year 11, Bayside Christian College – If I think of what to write
  • Sarina Davidson, Year 11, Genazzano FCJ College – Birds of Bruce’s Su’Birb’ia
  • Quinn Franklin, Year 11, Flinders Christian Community College – Tempt rue
  • Meri Hayes, Year 11, Good Shepherd College – A Mindless Stride through the Rain
  • Niamh Ryan, Year 11, Genazzano FCJ College – Catching the Train

Watch other winning poems in this year’s Student Poetry Competition.


You can also find full results and view the winning poems on The Parents Website.