I wondered lonely as a cloud….

“I think what you actually mean in that subject line is ‘wandered’ not ‘wondered’.   It’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’…”

“No, I’m contemplating isolated cognitive water vapour.”

It is the miracle of language that we can use it to go anywhere.  We can not only wonder at the miracle of life, but wander about in our own minds, finding the most extraordinary and outrageous ideas.

Exactly as Cædmon supposedly did in the 7th century in the first ever English poem, and millions have been doing ever since.  To play with words is very much to be human.

And indeed today the game goes on.  I can write a paragraph beginning with a joining word, and find that you haven’t (as yet at least) deleted this email in disgust.

Or I can use a more formal type of prose, attempting (as best I can) to obey the rules of English grammar.  That is our inheritance: the athleticism of our brains, the infinite potential of our language.

In a sense this is why the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition has run so successfully every year since 2001, and perhaps also why this year the judges decided that the theme should be “Wonder”.

The competition, organised as always by Christ Church, University of Oxford, offers the UK’s most valuable prize for poets aged 16 to 18.

The judges this year are Alan Gillis, Katherine Rundell and Peter McDonald.  The cash prizes are, as always, more than significant, and the closing date is 19 February.

Details are on the Tower Poetry website and entries can be emailed directly to us, so there is no need to gather your students’ work together and post it in.

You can also download an entry form from the website.  If you want to know more or discuss any point of detail, please do email me at info@towerpoetry.org.uk or call me on 01865 286 591.

Kathryn Grant

Tower Poetry Administrator