Young poet Opal, wins national competition

Psychology, English literature and English language A-level student, Opal Stubbs talks to us about her recent competition winning title. We talk about her poem and where her inspiration has come from, not just from her poem, but from creative writing in general.

Opal stubbs

“It was a competition my English teacher Joe sent me. He thought it would be interesting for me to do because poetry is the thing I’m passionate about in life, it’s the one thing I love. I’ve always written them and it’s a thing I want to pursue in the future. I’ve been doing it since primary school.

York University was holding this poetry competition and it was about nature. I didn’t have any poems on nature and don’t really write about nature. It’s such a strange idea to write about nature to me, I thought there was no way I’m going to win this so I was surprised when I did.”

Opal takes inspiration from everything around her, we asked her where the inspiration came from for her winning piece.

“Trees are oddly pretty, how many times have you seen painted trees and had them framed in a canvas. They die every year and they are still called beautiful. I found that beautiful. They’ve got cracks in the bark that have been painted and seen as beautiful as well. I thought, why does no one do that with people, why are flaws seen as just flaws and they are avoided being painted.”

opals book

Poetry is a creative practice. Opal looks at life in such a beautiful way and sees the world in more detail, this is shown in her writing.

“Sometimes I take inspiration from just looking at something. I did one about tangled earphones. It can feel like you leave someone alone, you come back and they are tangled, but you can’t work out why. It gets so frustrating and you get frustrated at the earphones. It can feel like that on the inside sometimes. It can also be like therapy. It’s one of my biggest coping mechanisms as well as being an art form. Poetry is writing emotions when you can’t explain them in words.”

It’s great to hear that Opal is having such incredible support from her tutors to encourage her to progress and believe in herself.

“I want to mention how important my support from Joe was (Joseph Marsh) as my English teacher and mentor, he made me feel confident enough to enter the competition which was nice because I struggle with confidence.”

We wanted to hear how Opal feels now she has a physical copy of the book with her poem in it.

“It feels like a landmark, next it is going to be my book with my poems in. To take steps towards that is really nice. It’s nice to have people who I don’t know tell me that they’ve seen my work and that they are proud of me. Its nice to make people proud like that. This book is going to be looked after really well, I might even sign it.”

Opal Stubbs with her book

Framed trees – Opal Stubbs

I wish I were a tree,
Not just sometimes,
But most of the time,
While we sit inside,
Gathering dust,
They won’t say we’re beautiful,
They won’t paint us,
They won’t paint me.
I myself an empty canvas,
I don’t inspire.
And trees,
They get painted,
Apple trees, orange trees, and cheery blossoms,
They all have a beauty,
That I cannot reach,
That I cannot be.
Yet they age yearly,
Dying in winter,
Loosing all its colour,
And still inspiration strikes,
Every crevice and flaw carved in the bark,
Is seen as perfect,
Paintings are made,
Trees become framed,
And I am left,
Deemed not worthy,
Sat upon the top shelf,
And labelled ugly,
Doing nothing,
Being nothing,
And becoming dust.

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