Earlier this year, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal had the honour to co-organise the first citywide World Poetry Day Poetry Competition 2021 with Grassroots Future, a registered charity looking at empowering grassroots movements and building capacity in the refugee and asylum seeker community in Hong Kong. Peel Street Poetry and Spill Stories were also co-organisers of the competition. The competition sought entries of original works by members of the refugee community currently in Hong Kong.
World Poetry Day Poetry Competition 2021 aimed not only to mark World Poetry Day—which is celebrated on 21 March—but more importantly, to amplify refugee voices in the city and to provide writers with a platform to tell stories through poetry.
The judges for the inaugural competition were Tammy Lai-Ming Ho (editor-in-chief of Cha), Akin Jeje (Peel Street Poetry) and Tiffany Huang (Spill Stories). Winners were announced on Sunday 21 March 2021 at a virtual event (ETA 8pm on Zoom).
The finalists were given cash prizes (HKD700 for First Place, HKD500 for Second Place, and HKD300 for Third Place). Additionally, the winning poet will have the opportunity to develop a chapbook of their poetry for publication in collaboration with Spill Stories.
We thank Tegan Smyth, founder of Grassroots Future, for inviting Cha to be part of this wonderful poetry initiative. We are very pleased to present the top three selected poems in the journal. Please click the links below to learn more about the poets, read their poems, and listen to the pieces read.
◎ First Place ◎
“Woman, Arise!” by J.C.
Read by Paola Caronni
◎ Second Place ◎
“Palm Sunday” by C.L.
Read by Anne Cheng
◎ Third Place ◎
“Sinners” by John Outsider
Read by John Outsider