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The Imagine Portsmouth poetry competition ran during the summer of 2021 and asked entrants to submit poems that encapsulated the sense of optimism of the vision for Portsmouth in 2040 created by the 2,500 people who contributed to the Imagine Portsmouth project.

The poems were entered in two categories, 18 and over and under 18. The judges selected two poems in the 18 and over category as joint winners, and one winner from the under 18 category. You can read the winning poems below.

18 and over – joint winners

Jane Olive

Portsea Island

The judges selected Portsea Island as joint winner in the 18 and over category.

The judges described the winning entry from Jane Olive as a ‘well-crafted and original villanelle’ with ‘interesting imagery and diction, the poem intertwines the people of Portsmouth with the environment.’


Layers of people sandstone mudstone

chalk clay sand silt press it all down

pull a cord round the city pull tight to the bone

Slip the evening canoe into cool sea alone

in the warm mud where harbour seals swim with their young

layers of people sandstone mudstone

Read the full poem

Suzanne Puntis

A Rap For Portsmouth 2040

The judges selected A Rap for Portsmouth 2040 as joint winner in the 18 and over category.

The judges described the ‘lively, colourful’ poem as an ‘epic achievement’ and said: “This poem has 2040 at its heart. It picks up on concerns we have now and pushes them forward. There is also a good sense of place and pace.”


Well, this is my 2040 alliterative, funk rap, 

Intended to put Portsmouth’s future, well and truly on the map! 

You may not approve of this modern, artistic, way of writing, 

But prepare to be blown away and consider it exciting! 

This rap has a serious purpose of intent, 

For you to consider your ambitions and how they might be spent. 

Read the full poem

I introduce you to our one and only city …. Portsmouth!! 

Portsmouth is not a like! It is a real glitter bomb of glory! 

All the mountains remined me of being in space and watching the stars winking at Portsmouth. 

Read the full poem

Under 18 category winner

Mohamed Helal

Untitled prose poem

Mohamed’s untitled prose poem was selected as the winner from the under 18’s category.

The poem was described by the judges as a “Great poem. Lively, imaginative and dramatic point of view. Meets the brief as it is set in the future. I loved the ‘glitter bomb of glory’ image.”

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