Red Room Poetry REX Prize winner St Mary's Primary School teacher Emma Ingram with her year 4 class.
Red Room Poetry REX Prize winner St Mary's Primary School teacher Emma Ingram with her year 4 class. Ebony Stansfield

Grafton teacher and former student win national poetry prize

A GRAFTON primary school teacher and her former student were brought together in an extraordinary way, with the pair both awarded a national poetry prize.

St Mary's Primary School teacher Emma Ingram and her former Year 4 student Shayam Ashokumar, were both been awarded the Red Room Poetry REX Prize for their national poetry competition, Object Poetry.

The competition invited young writers to create, publish and submit poems inspired by objects which hold a special place in their lives.

As Ingram's class did the gradual release model of learning, where tasks go from teacher led and then to the students, she firstly wrote her own poem to show the class how to use her ideas.

When she thought about a special object, her locket came to mind and was the inspiration behind her poem The Locket.

She said she wore the locket every day as she had fond memories of her mother with her locket on.

"That's what I want for my kids one day, for it it be this special family heirloom," she said. "It's very special."

Her locket had her wedding photo with her husband and as they are expecting a baby- when her daughter is born they will put a photo of her inside.

Mrs Ingram said for both Shayam and herself to receive the award was incredible.

Before her student moved to Queensland from Ingram's Year 4 class, Shayam Ashokumar entered his poem My Inheritance.

"I chose this bird as my special object because it represents our strong family bond and the sharing of our love by passing down this bird for future generations," he said.

He moved to Australia from South Africa in 2015 and realised the "oceans cannot separate us".

"We are bound like the links on a chain. My ancestors are my history and I am the future. This bird was, is and will always be our inheritance," he said.

He said being chosen amongst so many entries made him so happy and thankful.

Red Room Poetry is one of Australia's leading arts organisations focused on bringing poetry and appreciation of art and expression to sectors of the community that might otherwise not have the access.

The REX prize is a special prize awarded to those entire that are not only outstanding poems but those that have been submitted to the competition from regional areas.

The Locket- Emma Ingram

You hang from my neck,

like my mother's before me,

swinging freely,

like a pendulum attracted

to

gravity.

Your outer shell is smooth and shiny.

Reflecting.

Protecting.

A tangle of forest flowers

encrust your face.

When opened,

time stands still.

I am pulled, then entranced

by the magical memories and moments

you so carefully preserve.



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