RGS opens poetry competition to all in Ripon

The everyday pleasures amid turmoil, highlighted in the imaginative musings of A Time of Gifts - based on the youthful escapades of an 18-year-old who walked from Holland to Constantinople after being expelled from school - is the inspiration behind this year's RGS Paul Hullah poetry competition theme. For the first time, it will be open to the wider community, including RGS parents, past pupils and Ripon residents. HELEN MARS reports

IN 1933, 18-year-old Patrick Leigh Fermor decided that, having been expelled from school and having second thoughts about entering Sandhurst, he would walk from Holland to Constantinople. His journey was one of many phenomenal achievements in a life that saw him referred to as a cross between Indiana Jones, Graham Green and James Bond. The trilogy of books he wrote about the experience are classics of travel writing, but all the more interesting because some passages are wholly fictional, whimsical and magical, interspersed within otherwise factual and realistic descriptions. 

In a time where we must use our imaginations to travel, where we must appreciate the everyday pleasures and small mercies amidst turmoil, the title of Fermor’s first instalment of his youthful escapade, A Time of Gifts, provides an optimistic and suitably intriguing point for this year’s Hullah Prize For Poetry.

Sponsored and judged by Old Riponian Paul Hullah, a noted poet, polymath, and professor of poetry at Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University, the prize is usually open to the fourth and fifth form. In light of this year’s unusual circumstances, we are changing the format slightly.

Category One: pupils of RGS only (trophy and book token prize).
Category Two: staff, Old Rips, inhabitants of Ripon and friends of the school (book token prize).

For both categories, the format is the same. Any metre, style or poetic form allowed, between 12 and 50 lines, inspired by or entitled A Time of Gifts, submitted via email by the 16th July 2020 to Mrs Mars at marsh@ripongrammar.com