Armistice Day 1918-2018
Some 10 million soldiers were killed in ‘The Great War’ before the guns finally fell silent on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918. The Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany in a railway carriage in the forests of Compiègne in France, agreeing to the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front and effectively ending the First World War. It took effect at eleven o'clock that morning —the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month".
Armistice Day is remembered in countries around world. In Britain a two-minute silence is observed to remember and honour the sacrifices made. Many people wear a poppy as a symbol of remembrance and hope inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written by Canadian Doctor Colonel John McCrae in the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres. The bright red poppy is a resilient flower which continued to grow in landscapes otherwise devastated by war. In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, Remembrance Sunday takes place on the second Sunday in November nearest to 11 November.
2018 will mark 100 years since the armistice was signed. The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and Winner of Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Imtiaz Dharker, supported the University of Lincoln in launching a poetry competition for schools to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day.
The competition judges selected the best poems submitted by UK school pupils and college students to feature in a special anthology, ‘Armistice 100’. Carol Ann Duffy returned to the University of Lincoln in November 2018 to celebrate the launch of the anthology.
This celebratory event included readings from the new book and culminated with announcement of prize-winning poets by Carol Ann and her fellow competition judges.
As the birthplace of the tank, the City of Lincoln played a unique role in bringing the First World War to an end. The invention by engineers from William Foster & Co. Ltd of a revolutionary machine with caterpillar tracks which could traverse the boggy terrain and trenches of no man’s land is thought to have saved many thousands of lives by ending the bloody stalemate of trench warfare.
Led by Professor Jason Whittaker, a journalist, author and acclaimed scholar on the poetry of William Blake, the University of Lincoln's School of English & Journalism offers a vibrant creative environment where students can work alongside award-winning journalists and leading writers with access to a rich and varied programme of guest lectures. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has been a Visiting Artist with the School since 2015, engaging in public poetry readings and workshops and providing unique insights for students into how poetry is made and affects our understanding of the world. Other visiting professors include Chris Packham, Angela Rippon and Bridget Kendall.
The University of Lincoln Armistice 100 Prize for Schools Poetry Competition was open to poets in the following following three age categories (at time of entry):
Submitted poems could take any format: sonnet, haiku, couplet or free verse. They could be narrative or epic and of any length although the maximum number of words permitted was 500 (not including title).
Eligible writers from the UK and overseas were invited to submit their poems to the competition on the theme of Armistice. This could be about the First World War, or about armistice more generally in the sense of the cessation of hostilities. It could even be a more personal interpretation.
Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Visiting Artist at the University of Lincoln
Professor Jason Whittaker, Head of English and Journalism at the University of Lincoln
Imtiaz Dharker, Winner of Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Authors of the best poems in each age category, as chosen by the judging panel, will be awarded the following prizes (The Armistice 100 Prize for Schools Poetry):
All shortlisted poets (from each age category) will be invited with family and friends to attend a performance poetry event at the University of Lincoln on 15 November 2018 where winners will be announced by the competition judges. All shortlisted poems from each age category will be published in a collection called ‘Armistice 100’, which will include a foreword by Carol Ann Duffy.