NaPoWriMo 2015

NaPoWriMo #20 – A New National Anthem

So, you may have noticed that there has been a lot more anti-immigration rhetoric being thrown around than usual. It’s a sad reflection on our society that this rhetoric has only increased in the wake of the news that hundreds more people have died whilst trying to cross the Mediterranean. With this in mind, I’ve decided to write a new national anthem – sing it to whatever tune you like.


There’s Great in our name,
which seems a bit silly
when we’re really quite average at best.

Have you seen our country?
It’s pretty alright.
We wish it could be a bit better.

We’re four different countries
pressed into one
but the one in the middle
shouts the loudest.

There’s Great in our name,
which seems a bit silly
when we’re really quite average at best.

Oh, there’s England, of course,
who makes all the rules
and Scotland where life seems much fairer.

Old Wales has lungfuls of mountain fresh air
kept healthy by free state-run healthcare
and Ulster who lies
under fair Irish skies

There’s Great in our name,
which seems a bit silly
when we’re really quite average at best.

Come pay us a visit, should you get the chance
we owe our existence to you.
All the people who braved
our tumultuous waves
that we never did rule
just like King Canute, the fool.

There’s Great in our name,
which seems a bit silly
when we’re really quite average at best.
But we wouldn’t trade it in,
not for anything
and if you disagree, well
that’s up to you.


By Cameron Holleran - Poet, Facilitator and Performer

I only started to get into poetry in Sixth Form where I had some wonderful teachers who put me onto Tony Harrison and John Agard – they were two poets that just stuck in my head as people using the language that they spoke to create poetry. With Harrison, we'd looked at V and it wasn't the swearing that resonated with me, it was the fact he'd used the word 'mam'.

Between that a lifelong love of music, I just really loved using words in different ways and having fun with language. I felt brave enough after a few months of writing to try giving performing ago, so started doing open mics around Manchester (I'm from Salford) in 2009 and won some local slams.

When I moved to London in 2011, my mental health took a bit of a dive and I couldn't deal with performing again. In 2014, I'd got talking to a friend on my degree course (who was and remains an amazing and accomplished poet) and showed her some of my writing – she encouraged me to apply for the Barbican Young Poets and I got on and was part of the programme from 2014 to 2016. BYP was an incredible experience and remains one of the happiest periods of my life and I made lots of new friends and came on a lot as a poet, thanks to the support and mentoring of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Kayo Chinonyi, Jasmine Cooray, and Rachel Long

In that time, I performed at a lot of venues in addition to the Barbican Centre, including the Southbank Centre, People's Palace, Rich Mix and Tate Modern, as well as a number of festivals such as Curious Festival (where I wrote a poem in Anglo-Saxon which was backed by a jazz quartet), the Barbican Weekender, Walthamstow Garden Party. I was part of the team responsible for curating National Poetry Day 2014 at the Southbank Centre, performed at Inua Ellams RAP Party, and worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on a commission which formed part of the the BBC's Centenary commemorations.

I've been published in a few places such as the Barbican anthologies, Watermarks anthology and Marble Poetry, longlisted for the erbacce prize, and nominated for the first Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

I am the current poet-in-residence for the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. My work here is used to highlight and complement the research that is being done by the institute, providing a different way for people to interact with their work.

Other things that are important to know about me are that I'm non-binary (they/them/their pronouns), I love cats and Pepsi, and I like to box.

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