UCL News


Yale UCL Poetry competition announces winners for 2014

17 February 2015

The winners of the 2014 Yale UCL Medical and Engineering Students' Poetry Competition have been announced.

Yale-UCL Poetry winners

From the 121 entries received this year, first place was jointly awarded to two UCL students - Emily Van Blankenstein (UCL Medicine) for her poem entitled 'Morning' and Nicholas Taylor (UCL Civil Engineering) for his poem entitled 'Cliffs of Moher.' Joint second prize was awarded to Hana Tsuruhara (UCL Medicine), Antonio Seccomandi (UCL Engineering) and Jacob Izenberg (Yale Medicine).

Commenting on her win Emily van Blankenstein said: "It's easy to let medicine dominate your identity - it felt almost rebellious to submit something with no reference to hospitals, patients, scars. Having the chance to express the side of me the hospital doesn't see was an unexpected joy."

The contest, which was launched in 2011 by Professor John Martin (UCL Metabolism & Experimental Therapeutics), aims to stimulate creativity and expression amongst students and find the commonality of experience through the use of poetry.

A volume of the best poems from the competition is planned to be published in the coming months.

The winning entries to the 2014 Yale UCL Medical and Engineering Students' Poetry Competition:

Emily van Blankenstein - Morning

My body knows to wake before the alarm,
Pull her in closer; pray to god I die first.
I'm jerked from solemnity by stirring in my arms,
She smiles before her eyes open and my sun rises.
Drag out the last seconds,
Until reluctantly we melt from soft paradise.

Nicholas Taylor - Cliffs of Moher

It's lucky that you came today, for I'll not long be here.
The sea will never let me be; I live in constant fear
That soon I may be swallowed up into his milky sphere.
I was a great hill, once ago, of ancient shales and slates
Deposited while dinosaurs still tramped their wild estates.
When in my turbid youth I lay, the jousting of the plates,
And mountains tumbling from the sky, flung spoils on top of me.
They surged and ebbed, till I became a layer-cake of history.
Now each day's the sea's birthday, and he cuts a slice of me.
For the sea loves celebration, but he has no memory,
And he thinks each day his birthday, and his joy knows no degree,
And he rushes to embrace the land, and yearns to set it free.
So the sea will never let me rest; I live in constant dread.
He gnaws and scratches at my feet, to topple down my head,
Insisting that I lie beside him in his foamy bed.
Yet thanks to him my skin is fresh, and I have come to be
A sight so rare that my admirers cross the world to see;
But if you think that is my gift, you misunderstand me.
Flies climb and circle round my face, lice scuttle on my head,
And tiny plankton at my feet search my wrinkles to be fed.
This itchy torment is my wealth; its value can't be said.
But still the sea won't leave me be, I live at constant risk
That soon I may be shivered down and scattered on his disc.
It's lucky that you came today, for I'll not long persist.


  • Yale UCL Medical and Engineering Students' Poetry Competition 2014 winners: Nicholas Taylor and Emily van Blankenstein