I finished my application for The Tower Poetry Summer School at Christ Church, Oxford today - well, yesterday. Three poems and a covering letter. God, I want this so badly. I want it so badly I can't sleep. It's ridiculous. Do keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, and any other digits you may have. Here's the letter I sent:
I am writing to apply for a place at this year’s Tower Poetry Summer School. I would particularly like to attend because I have felt recently that my poetry has reached a kind of plateau, in that it seems to have ceased to improve. This has been alleviated somewhat by taking part in NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month, attempting to write a poem a day throughout April), which has so far been a great success for me. I still feel, though, that I am in need of some help or instruction from someone more experienced when it comes to revising my work and producing multiple drafts. I would also greatly appreciate the chance to meet other young people who are serious about poetry, as the members of my university’s Writers’ Circle are mainly concerned with prose.
My previous writing achievements are modest but have been very significant to me personally. The first was when I was eight years old and we were told to write a poem about trees for a school project. This was when I first discovered that, not only does a poem not have to rhyme, but rhyme is a tool rather than a restriction. We had been learning, at that time, about simile and metaphor also, and it was with my tree poem that I discovered how figurative language could convey my impressions of the world around me, enabling me to communicate more effectively than I could in speech. The poem was, of course, childish. It was wholly unstructured and contained the unfortunate line: “its roots suck up nutrients like a huge, powerful vacuum cleaner.” Nevertheless, it was praised by my teachers and featured in the local newspaper. Since then, I have directed my life towards a career in writing. I have continued to have minor successes. At the age of eleven, I was published in a Young Writers anthology, and I went on to write for several more of their anthologies and also for their magazine, Wordsmith. I rapidly outgrew this, however, and since the age of fourteen, I have been honing my poetic skills in preparation for adults’ magazines and competitions. I won the 15-19 section of the Peterloo Poetry Competition in 2005. I have also attended several workshops, am active in online critique forums and run the university Writers’ Circle.
Please see below for my details and the three poems are enclosed. Many thanks for providing this wonderful opportunity.