For the second consecutive year, Huddersfield New College was represented in the ‘Poetry by Heart’ National Semi-Finals.

Saliha Khadim, who won the West Yorkshire title back in February, participated in this year’s competition at Homerton College, Cambridge University.

Over the two day competition, Saliha recited three poems, “Slavery: a poem” by Hannah Moore and “It’s work” by Benjamin Zephaniah on the Friday, and “The Stretcher Bearer” by Tommy Crawford on the Saturday.

Competition organisers made sure the three-day-long event felt more like a celebration than an intense contest, with the students being taken on a tour of Cambridge City centre, as well as having the opportunity to visit several key Cambridge Colleges. Throughout the weekend, creative writing workshops were hosted by the event organisers to encourage the contestants to further expand and explore their love of poetry.

This year’s competition was stiff and unfortunately Saliha wasn’t able to go through to the Grand Final round. Just reaching this level of the competition is something to be proud of though, and of course, Saliha retains her West Yorkshire championship title.

Rebecca Wilson, College Librarian, said “Saliha gave it her all – even before she was on stage. She chose to practise her performances in front of college staff and her tutor groups to help her fine-tune her recital. Saliha has shown from the start the passion of heart needed in this competition – it’s more than just memorising a poem, it’s about taking it and making it your own. Her performance in Cambridge was her best yet – a recital she and the whole college can be proud of.”


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