Shortlisted entries have been printed in a booklet of Chiltern Arts Poetry 2020, and the winning poems were announced and read at the Chiltern Arts Festival Youth Music and Arts Day on Sunday 1st March 2020.

Competition Theme: Overcoming Diversity

The Chiltern Arts Festival 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by celebrating artists, musicians and other creatives who have overcome adversity.

The 2020 Poetry Competition invited writers to explore a situation in their own lives, or the life of someone who has inspired them, in which the phrase ‘overcoming adversity’ resonates.

All winners have been announced and published in the Chiltern Arts Poetry Booklet. Many thanks and congratulations to all!
View our Poetry Booklet here
Many thanks to Gloria and John McGregor, who joined Creative Director Naomi Taylor on the judging panel for the 2020 Competition

2020 Poetry Competition Winners


Overcome Adversity
Diva Maheshwari

Do you ever feel you’ve been trapped, you can’t get through,
Looking for yourself, searching the blue.
You won’t find that needle in the haystack,
There’s a different method to get your hopes back.
Don’t stop pedalling, you need to keep your balance
You won’t fall, You’ll beat ‘em all!
If you ever find a path with no obstacles, it’s a dead end.
Be your own companion, be your own friend.
Remember that everything’s hard before it’s easy,
You might get those goosebumps, feeling queasy.
But you’ve got to step out there,
Break through, like ya just don’t care.
The moment you’re free,
You’ve overcome adversity!


Turn my Sadness into Beauty
Georgia Ayew

Turn my sadness into beauty

Render my blue shades upon the canvas for Van Gogh’s
starry sky and thus make his stars glow ever brighter. 

Let the frantic eccentricities of an expressive mind be
more than madness and by doing so take those
insatiable fires so passionate and frustrated. 

Let them flow effervescent in eclectic dreams
Rushing, Racing, pounding;

uncontrollably Mining valleys and cracks
 into the rocks of my understandings.

Let the raging lava give you light give you clarity 

Let my petals wither and fall in a moment’s cold
for from them stems intangible desires and their tangible arts.

Never pity the fragility for the fruit of my mind
changed with every crack

And let the glass of my box break, for I want my loss
to be an exploration. 

So paint my desperation in passionate reds
not mellow blues and think not of me in solace. 

For beauty can only best be distinguished
from its ugliest friend,
And light amongst its darkest shadow.