Frances-Anne King wins inaugural SciPo Poetry Competition

Frances Anne mono23

SciPo, the annual science poetry event run by The Poet’s House, Oxford with St Hilda’s College, Oxford, has just held its first science poetry competition, judged by Jane Draycott. Many congratulations to the winner, Frances-Anne King, for her poem ‘Home Thoughts from the Red Planet’.

Home Thoughts from the Red Planet

It was considered weakness to look back
so they didn’t speak of it, but images
spored inside their heads and spread
across their dreams at night. Some stashed
files, chose rare fonts – as if to keep the past
alive more vividly. Some wrote of trees;
oak, aspen, cypress, silver birch, pelts
of balsam fir across a mountain range,
the shape and texture of a leaf, the vibrancy
or calm of some particular shade of green.

A man described a wheat field ripening under sun,
the weight and sea-sway of wind-pulled crops.
A woman, haunted by cycles of return, explained
the pattern play of swallows in an autumn sky;
how they forage on the wing, the skim and swoop
of cobalt feathers across the surface of a lake.
Another recorded the last bee she’d seen, a red carder,
and sketched it in the margins of each page.
Through all their notes the memory of blue
in all its myriad shades, repeated and repeated.

Frances-Anne King

Frances-Anne and some of the other prizewinners will read their poems at the prize giving after discussions with, and poetry readings by, the distinguished poets Carrie Etter and Philip Gross. The event will be chaired by its co-organiser – the poet and Emeritus Fellow in Plant Sciences at St Hilda’s College, Sarah Watkinson. For further details and to book, please follow this link –
We look forward to seeing you.


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