The "Write and Burn!" Challenge 2022: Give voice to your words

Write and Burn 2022 - Banner.png

Congratulations to our winners of Write and Burn! 2022! 

First prize: "Perhaps this is goodbye" by Yew Huixin, Charlotte (ACSI)

Second prize: "bury your bruises" by Chia Kei Yin (RGS)

Third prize: "Lilies of Bone" by Maya Bosson (United World College SEA)

Perhaps this is goodbye

by Yew Huixin, Charlotte

Perhaps this is goodbye

Libraries always seem to remind me

Of you, old friend, and how

You could never comprehend

How bookstores were any different

Let alone better, for that matter. In retrospect

Ironic, really, for someone who took so much

And gave so little. Perhaps that

Was my first mistake.

For someone who never bothered with

Semantics, your lexicon of adoration

Never failed to draw me into dedication

Rife with desperation, shaky declarations.

Someday was one of our favourite words

Along with should and could and would.

And maybe. Perhaps that

Was your downfall.

Bestseller lists would have nothing on us

Genre-defying lot. What felt like a fantasy

Turned unsolved mystery, tragedy, comedy.

Took on past tense, a recipe for shattered

Souls and crushed consciences illustrated

In the innocent pastel of blurred chalk

And grainy crayon. Perhaps that

Was our undoing.

Like a collection of short stories, typewritten

Words etched onto crisp ivory pages

Ours never made it to the end of the plot

But I’ll remember the pages you were on and

Perhaps one day, sometime somewhere

Someplace, reread without hesitation

The chapters you graced. But it wouldn’t matter

Even if you read it backwards, because

It started the way it ended; two strangers,

Whispered words and second glances.


Well then, I guess this is goodbye.

bury your bruises

by Chia Kei Yin

calloused knees scrape against rough pavement

as aching bones watch the sunset blossom

the end of an age unfolds before stinging eyes, its skies

streaked in smeared hues of bruised blues

Roses drip in red

Bloody sunsets of scarlet

Picturesque grotesque

seeing the world at its knees, steps stumble into a steep fall.

the sky seems to rip itself apart with each sunrise,

patching up the silence

of the night with raw watery greys

Living walking dead.

Just hollow husks, shallow shells

Peeling and burlesque

while trudging along the well-wrought road, the

violent flames of destination lick against your

yearning fingertips, leaving them charred and for the dead.

shattered dreams line the streets with no one to bury them; because

naivety is paid in wages of headaches and heartbreak

Fiction, bred and fed,

Only bring us false glories.

Dreams are dressed

Lace sprayed with mace

when time and tide wait for none, the race must continue on

when the weight of the skies falls on you, its burdens shred your muscles to fibres

when tension thickens, what little oxygen left in your lungs is beaten right from you

when you’re down to your last ragged breath, how do you gasp for more—

at least the dead can sleep in a war.

Lilies of Bone

by Maya Bosson

I’m sorry that I haven’t returned in a while

The weeds have flourished

obscuring your name, engraved into the stone

Wilted lilies hunch placidly and cast shadows in the dying sunset

Petals withered brown from months without replacement

They were your favourite


I’m sorry - they are your favourite

The thought is a regular reoccurrence

That all the humane things about you were confined to your body

The touch of your callused hands

The chestnut of your iris

Cobwebs of veins and arteries, intricately designed

Now buried six feet under hardened soil

And when I remember I spiral


and spiral


and spiral


Into the grief that enslaved me for so long

With shackles of bone shards

Confining me inside my consciousness

Days turned into weeks turned into months

as I walked the barren landscape of my mind

The sunlight touched the cracked dirt with

Nothing but the occasional oak

But the nights were crawling with monsters

Grotesque hands tearing through that earth with rotting flesh

Flashing the white of bone

Your hands. Tearing me down to

whatever hell lay below

After a while, they dissipated


I can’t say what it was that frightened them away

I think it was time

The survivor’s guilt began to fade

With the steady tick, tick, tick of the clock

The little red one beside my bed

I picked it up one day, the clock

and threw it at the wall

Sick of the monotonous ringing

I slammed it with my fists

Until the ground was speckled with my blood and glass

Some days I felt like I would take a bullet for you

And other days I felt like it was you behind the trigger

I think the reason I’ve come here less

Is not because I’ve ceased to yearn for times you were here

No, the grief clings to me like those rotting hands

Threatening to drown me in the shifting earth

But I think

I think its because I’ve started to heal

I’ve begun to perceive you as more than

The vessel that stored your person

I see you as the memories we shared more than

The ones we could have had

I look at you as the ideas you were more than

The ideas you could have had

Who you were

Rather than who you could be

The lilies will be here

Even when I’m not

Fresh or decayed

It doesn’t matter

Because it’s not about the withering rotten ugliness they expel

But rather

what beauty they once beheld


Write and Burn! is a poetry performance competition organised by Poetry Festival Singapore for students at upper secondary levels, junior colleges or equivalent levels at centralised institutes, polytechnics or international schools, in Singapore. 

Our Mission

  • To raise standards of English Language communication through a competitive platform via the spoken word as a performance medium

  • To encourage expression of personal identity through the spoken word

  • To develop emerging young talents in Literature



Open to: All students at upper secondary levels, junior colleges, and equivalent levels at centralised institutes, polytechnics, and international schools, in Singapore

Medium: Video (Poetry Performance)

Qualifying Round: Submit a poem in response to a Singapore poem (published or performed in Singapore and/or by a Singaporean) found in libraries or from online sources

Language: English

Length: Up to 3 minutes of performance time

[There is no maximum word count, as long as the duration of the reading is under 3 minutes — including a short preamble stating one's name and the poem's title, as well as a brief explanation of what the poem is about.]

Prizes: S$300 in book vouchers for the 1st place winner, book prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place winners

Deadline: 3 April 2022, 1159hrs


Please ensure that you submit the following to this online form.  

(1) Written poem in Word or PDF format.
(2) Spoken performance of the poem in a short video (no longer than 3 minutes) as an unlisted link on YouTube or Google Drive.

There can be subtitles in the video but adding them would be optional.
*Participants are to submit only one entry per participant.


1. The challenge is open to permanent residents and citizens of Singapore aged 15 to 18 years (as of 31 Dec 2021).


2. Submissions close at noon (Singapore Time, 11:59)​ on 3 April 2022.


3. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 3 minutes of performance time, including preamble— stating one's name and the poem's title, short explanation of what the poem is about. ­Send your written entry before noon (Singapore Time, 11:59)​ on 3 April 2022 via this online form in Word or PDF formats. Your video entry should be submitted as an unlisted Youtube / Google Drive link; detailed instructions can be found in the form.

4. Each participant is encouraged to submit his, her or their best poem, which should preferably be unpublished. If your poem has been published in or submitted to any other platform or publication, please indicate as such in the online form.


5. In case of multiple entries, only the latest entry will be considered.

6. All entries will be evaluated anonymously by the judges.


7. Entries must be submitted via the online form only. No email submissions will be accepted.

8. Entries will not be returned in any form, so keep your own copy.

9. Under no circumstances can changes be made to poems once submitted.

10. The Organizer / Organization staff will be unable to confirm the content of documents submitted online, so please ensure you send the correct file.

11. The organizers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, no entry deserves a prize.


12. The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor the Organization / Organizer staff will enter into any correspondence.

13. Poems must be the original work of the entrant.


14.  Written entries should be typed in black at a minimum type size of 12pt. Entries can be double- or single-spaced and must be submitted as Word or PDF files. Video submissions should be audible and clear. The participant’s faces should not be covered, with no additional graphics or images. No subtitles are required for video entries.


15. There is an administrative fee of S$5 for each entry.


16. Entries will be assessed based on (i) clarity and expression in performance, (ii) precision with language, (iii) originality of thought, (iv) truthfulness of feeling, and (v) showmanship.


17. Shortlisted poets from the Qualifying Round will be notified. 


18. The copyright of each poem remains with the writer. However, writers of the top poems, by entering the competition, grant Poetry Festival (Singapore) the right to publish and/or broadcast their poems.


1. Can I submit more than one entry? (Individual)

Yes, only the latest entry will be considered.

2. Can I submit entries in multiple languages (e.g. one entry under English and one entry under Chinese)?

No, this competition is in English.

3. Do I have to pay any submission fee?

No, there is no submission fee to submit your poem.

4. What is the judging criteria?

Entries will be assessed based on clarity and expression in performance, precision with language, originality, truthfulness of feeling and showmanship.


5. When will I know if I am shortlisted?

We will notify shortlisted applicants at a later date to be confirmed.

6. Is there an age limit?

Yes, participants should be aged between 15-18 years old as of 31 Dec 2022.


7. Can foreigners participate?

The competition is open to Permanent Residents, and Singapore citizens aged 15-18.


8. What are the submission requirements?The submission is a spoken word piece of no more than 3 minutes in length, filmed and uploaded on YouTube / Google Drive with an UNLISTED link.
[Please note: Participants should not be reading from paper / cue cards. Glancing from time to time is acceptable.]

All film submissions are to be accompanied by the poem in written form. This can either be submitted as a separate .docx or .pdf document. There is no word count or line limit for the poem.

9. Do I have to subtitle my video?

No, you do not have to subtitle your video submission.