Dylan Booth, wearing a fleece-lined light blue denim jacket and white t-shirt, sits on an outdoor flight of stairs and smiles at the camera.
Dylan Booth’s poetry was commended in his first competition, Crossed Lines.

A talented Creative Writing student described by judges as an “exciting writer” has been commended in a national poetry competition.

Dylan Booth, a Masters student at Edge Hill University, won the commendation in the Crossed Lines national student competition for his audio poem entitled Lost in Google Translation.

The 22-year-old, originally from Nottingham, is thrilled that his work will now be featured alongside internationally-acclaimed writers and his own tutors in an app-based anthology, and revealed the recognition was his first poetry competition success.

“Being published in this project alongside fantastic and talented writers has boosted my confidence,” he said. “It has already encouraged me to enter my poetry elsewhere, whether in competitions or magazines, with the eventual goal of publishing my own poetry pamphlet.”

As part of the Crossed Lines project, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nottingham Trent University, students were invited to enter work on the theme of ‘calling’.

“Despite it being planned over half a year ago, the ‘calling’ theme feels very timely in the current circumstances,” Dylan added.

Dylan wears a black graduation cap and gown, a suit and sunglasses, while posing in front of one of Edge Hill's campus lakes.
Dylan at the graduation ceremony for his BA Creative Writing.

“My poem is not just about calling, but about technology, language and error. It celebrates the complexity and instability of human language through translation; it brings to light the eeriness of talking to a machine and how conversation is created through error, silence and breath.

Lost in Google Translation is the sort of poem that needs to be heard through a phone receiver.”

Dylan’s poem, which he wrote in the third year of his BA Creative Writing degree, interweaves multiple phone greetings which build to a crescendo before dying down until all that can be heard is the dial tone.

It is now featured in the innovative Dial-a-Poem anthology app, a free resource which invites the public to reflect on the poetry of the telephone. The app is free to download now from the App Store here and Google Play here.

Other members of the Edge Hill community also make an appearance, including Dylan’s tutor Zayneb Allak, a lecturer in Creative Writing, James Byrne, senior lecturer in Creative Writing, and alumnus Andrew Taylor who completed his PhD in Creative Writing at the University.

Zayneb Allak, who has chin-length dark hair and wears a cream top, smiles at the camera.
Creative Writing lecturer Zayneb Allak is Dylan’s proud tutor.

Zayneb said: “It’s brilliant to see Dylan’s poem recognised in this way.

“As a writer, he went from strength to strength on his degree because he really challenged himself. He put in the hours and made the most of every opportunity. I admire him very much for that!

“The question that he asks in his poem – ‘Hello? Is anyone there? Can you hear me?’ – is what I think we’re asking whenever we start a piece of writing. You really don’t know who will hear it, or who will want to listen.

“I’m glad this recognition will mean people listen to Dylan, though! His writing is really interesting and, as a team in Creative Writing, we’re very proud of him.

“To have work by Edge Hill students, alumni and lecturers in the same anthology really illustrates that while we are all at different stages in our careers, we are a real community of writers.”

The competition was judged by poet Jane McKie, who described Dylan as an “exciting writer”.

She said: “The competition has coincided with a time of extraordinary disruption, fear and uncertainty but it is also a time when global communication is of utmost importance.

“‘Calling’ would always be a compelling theme but this year, because of the urgent need for social isolation, calling is one of our greatest consolations.”

Edge Hill University’s English, History and Creative Writing Department offers courses including Bachelors and Masters degrees in Creative Writing, one of the fastest growing subjects in the curriculum, and options to combine with Drama, English Literature and Film Studies.