Last week, SMGS Year 7 student Charlotte Wilson received the news that she was selected as the Poetry in Action monthly poetry competition winner for March.

Of Charlotte’s poem, Georgia, Poetry in Action’s Education Tour Manager, said, “Charlotte Wilson wrote an excellent poem called The Darkness in my Mind which is about anxiety, and we felt it had the potential to be of particular relevance to students. It was very brave of her to share a poem that appears to be written from such a personal perspective.” Georgia went on to explain, “Every monthly winner has their poem turned into a short film by one of our touring acting teams. Team Nightingale, who performed for your school last term, have produced a video of Charlotte’s poem and here is the link to our Instagram page where it is able to be viewed: “

We caught up with Charlotte this week to ask her about her poem and to gain a bit more insight into the “story behind the poem”.

Q. Have you always enjoyed writing poetry and what/who are your main influences in your writing (are there other poets you enjoy, a teacher who has helped you, etc.?)?

A. Yes, I have always enjoyed writing poetry since learning poetic skills with Mrs Elliott in Years 2 and 3. My main influence would have to be Mrs Elliott as I would not be writing like this today if it was not for her. I also love Banjo Paterson and his poems. His technique and ideas astound and inspire me. I really enjoy trying new poetry ideas and this poem was my first using this technique.

Q. The subject of your poem is of particular relevance to students today; why did you choose to share your poem with Poetry in Action?

A. I chose to share this poem with Poetry in Action as I felt the need for my poem to be seen and read by other people. I also really enjoyed the challenge and excitement of entering something that I wrote into a competition.

Q. What were your initial feelings when you found out you had won the March competition?

A. When I first saw the post on Instagram I was so happy and excited. I was jumping up and down and I ran over and showed my parents. I am so happy that I was given this opportunity.

Q. It was extremely brave of you to put your poem out there. Why do you think it is so important for students, and in particular your peers, to be open and honest about their feelings, especially around anxiety and panic attacks?

A. I believe that it is much better and easier if other people know, as they can help you if you need help and can make you feel better. While I was writing this poem, it seemed the more I got onto the page, the better I felt. It is good to release your emotions and people need to know that it is ok to feel this way and that they don’t have to bottle it all up.

The SMGS community is proud of Charlotte and her honesty, Mrs Anne Jones, Charlotte’s English teacher echoed this sentiment, saying, “This was superb poetry writing by Charlotte. SMGS enables students to share concepts with their peers in a safe and supportive environment and this allows exploration of contemporary issues, including those that society often treads lightly around.”