Welcome to Poetic Pause

Whether it be for a brief moment or longer, we all need to stay still for a moment and just be. I've found over the years that my poetry helps me find those moments. I can drift away when reading the poetry of others and discover new ideas, new ways of thinking, of being.

When I settle down to write a new poem, or to work on one written previously, I drift away again, and grow as I write. Time takes on a different dimension, and my head goes places it has never been before. I love to write poetry, it's one of the best things there in the world - it's up there with chocolate when it's going well!

There are so many things to write poetry about, and so many different forms of poetry, from tiny 17 syllable haiku, to 200 page verse novels. All of the different forms have merits, and all can take you and your readers to interesting places.



Contact me

jeebers@aussiebb.com.au
REDBANKS SA 5502

Monday, March 30, 2015

Results from 'Climate' Poetry Competition

Adelaide Plains Poetry Award – 2015 – “Climate” Theme
Judge’s Report and Comments
Thank you so much to the Adelaide Plains Poets for asking me to judge this annual competition, and thank you also to the entrants for your hard work.  The standard was exceptionally high, and judging has been an immense privilege, as well as an enlivening personal challenge for me!
Firstly, please allow me to make some general comments, gleaned from my own experience as a poet and competition entrant. 
“To rhyme or not to rhyme – that is the question!!”  Judging a written poetry competition is never easy, but when its style is open, a whole new field comes into view.  Free verse is by nature not subject to the rules constraining bush poetry or other rhyming styles.  Therefore, to submit a rhyming poem in an open competition shows great courage, because your poem will be judged on more parameters than its free verse companions.  For that reason, some bush poets refrain from entering open competitions, believing they will not be competing on a level playing field.
So – congratulations to those who were brave enough to enter rhyming poems!  Some poets dismiss rhyming verse as mere “doggerel”, but it is in fact very difficult to write – especially if one is to elevate it to prize-winning level.  You must be accurate.  Rhyming words must be correct – not just close.  Matching rhyming lines must have the same syllable count.  Syllable stress (rhythm) must be uniform in matching rhyming lines.  Then, with the same word imagery needed for free verse, you have to make it sound spontaneous – as if it simply poured out of your creative mind!  A formidable challenge indeed!
Now to free verse.  Some say there are no rules, but I beg to differ.  It may not have conventional rhyme and rhythm, but free verse is still poetry.  It is not prose broken into short lines.  Free verse should give evidence of some type of structure and should follow the natural flow of the human voice. 
To those who are looking to improve their writing (and I hope that is all of you), please read, read, read poetry.  Find good poetry and learn from it.  Don’t be constrained by just your favourite poets and styles.  Branch out – challenge yourself – be inspired by the writings of others. 
Primary School Section
It is always a delight for me to read poetry through the eyes of children, and my first piece of advice to all of you is … keep writing!  As you become teenagers, poetry may not seem quite so “cool” or “fashionable” – but please don’t let that put you off.  I started writing in primary school, and here I am entering my 60’s, still writing!  I hope you too will allow poetry to be a lifelong passion for you.
As any one of the entries in this section could have been the winner, I had to become quite critical in order to separate them, and I thought long and hard before making my decision.  I have decided to award a 1st, 2nd and two 3rd prizes. 
·         3rd prize – shared between A Climate of Fear (Hannah Grogan) – a clever and different adaptation of the theme, and Climate (Molly Grogan) – a crisp and concise comparison of different types of weather, with good use of alliteration.
·         2nd prize – Macy’s Story (Amy Poole) – a realistic and fast moving account of Darwin’s Cyclone Tracy, through the eyes of a 10 year old child.  It is always a challenge to write someone else’s story – but this poem makes us believe the poet was really there.
·         1st prize – A Beautiful Place (Chloe Sharpe).  This poem has good rhyme and rhythm with no spelling or punctuation errors.  That immediately sets it apart.  The theme is well featured and I particularly like the motivational ending, which references back to the first line, thus completing the “circle”, and leaving us with the message that we always have choices with consequences.  A very mature poem for such a young person.  Well done!



Secondary School Section
Again, the standard of writing in this section was extremely high – and again I would say to all of you … keep writing!  Three students submitted free verse poems – the remaining are rhyming.  Two poems introduce the subject of suicide, a sobering message in itself.  Both of these (I Didn’t Know It Would Be The Last Time and Tomorrow) have earned highly commended awards from me.
The remaining highly commended certificates go to Seashells and Footprints – a great word picture of summer at the seaside, Oh Sunny Days – on a similar theme of the joys of summer, and an untitled poem beginning “Wispy fingers of smoke” – which vividly traces the aftermath of bushfire.
The following poems have earned the top three prizes:
·         3rd prize – Seasons (Ashleigh Dowling).  This is a clever analogy, comparing the joint forces of lightning, thunder, rain, wind and hail to a crime gang – who are ultimately thwarted by the law-enforcing sun.  I love metaphors and this poem uses them well.
·         2nd prize – From the Heavens (Amelia Clarke).  I was enchanted by this poet’s reversal of the imagery for sky and sea in this word picture of the water cycle.  Again – great metaphors in this short but delightful poem!
·         1st prize – A Hostile Home (Clare Langford).  This free verse poem stands out so much that I actually wrote the word “WOW” when assessing it.  The abstract word imagery is so superb that I could see, hear and smell the scene – right down to the crawling spider and slithering snake!  You have to be good to turn your whole poem into a metaphor without making it seem “over the top” – and this young poet has succeeded admirably.  Well done indeed!

Open Section
The majority of entries in this section are free verse, with only about 15% in the rhyming verse category.  Just one rhyming poem made the short list.  I have already spoken about the challenges of rhyme and rhythm, and may I re-stress this advice – make sure your rhymes are accurate and your rhythm and sense stress is correct.  In performance a speaker can adjust minor rhythm errors so they become undetectable, but in a written competition there is nowhere to hide! 
The short listed poems were very hard to separate, but with a great deal of considered thought and repeated revision, here are my results.
I have Commended the following poems:
·         A Dirty Day (Christine Richardson) – clever approach to theme, exploring the degrees of our perceptions of various aspects of challenging climatic conditions.
·         Lady (Marilyn Humbert) – an intriguing abstract poem about the love affair between the wind and (I think) a tree (or is it a mountain?)  Great imagery!
·         Five Eyes Wide (Bruce Greenhalgh) – haven’t we all gained and lost something when, as we grow, the wondrous fantasies of our childhood are replaced by the reality of certain knowledge?
·         Code Red (Nola Firth) – a compelling step by step account of a passing bushfire – with good repetition of the “metal” aspect.
·         Rain With a Change of Miscarriage (Louise Nicholas) – extremely potent and heart-wrenching account of a mother’s trauma against the backdrop of the outside elements.
The following poems have been Highly Commended:
·         On Observing the Bush Painters Clare Valley SA (Maureen Mitson) – beautiful word-picture imagery weaving the specific colours of a painter’s palette into the observed and remembered landscape.
·         Dead Man’s Pass in Summer (Linda Shaw) – a short but very descriptive portrayal of a specific location, with excellent use of alliteration and metaphors.



·         Hightly Commended:
 Change of Seasons
 (John Egan) – very thought provoking, great metaphors and alliteration, and a fabulous simile to finish!
·         Salt Lake (Joanne Mills) – this evoked the Pink Lake in Esperance WA for me – which shows that the word picture is well painted.  The motivating conclusion takes the poem beyond just observing, to learning the lesson.
·      In The Kimberley (Anne Udy) – a good word picture of absence of rain and the resourcefulness of surviving species.

With such great poems in the foregoing lists – as you may imagine, the top three are outstanding. 
·         3rd prize – Heatwave (Louise Nicholas)– the one and only sonnet, and an original one at that, with free verse for the first 12 lines, concluding with a rhyming couplet.  This poem attracted me at first reading – with its mock scolding of the Australian sun, its imaginative aspect, and its vivid word picture of the passage of day.  I just love the choice of words!
·         2nd prize – Circular (P S Cottier) - What can I say?  I will never look at my freezer in the same way again – and when the clink of ice goes into my drink, I will remember the Antarctic penguins and their desperate “circle or die” shuffle.  Great use of repetition and irony.  An amazing poem!
·         1st prize – The Boneyard (David Campbell) -which is an object lesson in how to write rhyming poetry – not just correctly, but brilliantly – leaving behind an indelible impression.  It is the sort of poem that, after reading aloud, you feel the need to sit in silence to absorb its power.  This is a stark depiction of the Gulf Country when the monsoon fails – the reality of death, the hopelessness, the inevitability.  It has the ring of personal experience – of a poet who knows his/her subject well … almost too well.  Shades of Henry Lawson, and definitely a worthy winner of this competition!

Final Summary
In conclusion, may I reiterate to all age groups that in a written competition what you present is what will be judged.  After putting in the hard work of composing your poem, don’t be satisfied with anything less than a high and accurate standard of presentation – the building blocks of which are accurate typing/writing, correct spelling – and where used, proper and consistent punctuation.  It’s easy to miss details in your own work, so before submission, find yourself someone to proof read your manuscript – parent, teacher, friend. 
Sincere congratulations to the winners of this competition.  To those who missed out on a prize – don’t be discouraged.  This is just one competition, and I am just one judge.  Last year I was privileged to win champion written poem in the Ipswich International Poetry Feast … with a poem which had been quite strongly criticized by a judge in a previous competition. 
So believe in yourself, and remember that while winning prizes is great, it’s not everything.  The best reward you can have as a writer is to discover that just one person was inspired, moved, cheered up, or affected in some other positive way by what you wrote.  That is what it’s all about.
Carpe Diem … and Happy Writing!

Shelley Hansen
“Lady of Lines”

www.shelleyhansen.com

Words from the Competition Secretary:

Running a poetry competition is an interesting thing. It goes from highs to lows and then back to highs again. The announcing of the competition, putting the word out there, and then worrying there would only be a couple of entries, back up again, when the entries roll in, in increasing numbers as the closing date approaches.

I'm not the judge of this competition, but I get excited when I open the mail, thinking I've discovered the poem that could be the winner. I was wrong again about who the winner would be, but I was very happy with the judge's choices.

Some of the names of the winners were already known to me, some were new names, but all of the poets awarded are deserving of their awards. The next theme for the poetry themehas een thought on, but won't be officially announced until the final day of the Gawler Festival of Words, which is happening 24-26 July 2015.

I thank everyone who entered this competition, this time and every previous competition. The point that nis most obvious to me is that poetry isn't dead in Australia - Performance Poetry is getting bigger and bigger, and competitions of written poetry are out there for anyone who'd like to have a go.

Adelaide Plains Poets is a writing group that is getting bigger and bigger too, and meeting new poets, helping new poets and not so new poets who've been hiding, to come out and put their words 'out there' is exciting. I hope to continue running poetry competitions for many years to come!

Carolyn Cordon
President & Competition Secretary, Adelaide Plains Poets


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Competition Closed!

Many thanks to all of the lovely poets who visited this site and entered the 2014/2015 poetry Competition on the theme of 'Climate'. There have been some interesting interpretations of the theme, and I am excited when I think about which poems and poets will be chosen by the judge.

The winners will be announced at the March Gawler Poets at the Pub event, which will take place on 29 March at the P/A Hotel (Prince Albert Hotel) in Gawler. I hope the winning poets can be there and read their own winning poems, and collect their prize, and I hope many others will be there to find out what the judge thought of the competition, and the competition entries received.

This competition received a reasonable number of entries - not the most ever, but certainly not the least ever, either. The theme obviously appealed to some poets, judging by their well thought out and passionate entries. I hope they can maintain that passion whenever they think on the theme, and do their bit to further the cause of assisting in slowing climate change.

The winning names and at least some of the winning entries will be posted on this blog after the winners have been announced. I hope many of you come back after the end of March to see who won and with which poem, and what the Judge thought too.

Many thanks to poets all around Australia, you're all wonderful!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The new Poetry Competition

So the word is now out concerning Adelaide Plains Poets new poetry competition! The theme is "Climate", and the poet is welcome to use it however they wish. Climate Change is certainly the big one at the moment, but there are other ways of using the word.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/climate gives this definition:



Climate

   [klīmət]
noun
  1. The definition of climate is the weather of a location over time or the environment or mood.
    1. An example of climate is when it is snowy and rainy.
    2. An example of climate is an economic boom time.
YourDictionary definition and usage example. Copyright © 2014 by LoveToKnow Corp


Iceland has a very cold climate.
Iceland has a very cold climate.
Licensed from iStockPhoto

climate




noun
  1. the prevailing or average weather conditions of a place, as determined by the temperature and meteorological changes over a period of years
  2. any prevailing conditions affecting life, activity, etc.: a favorable climate of opinion
  3. a region with certain prevailing weather conditions: to move to a warmer climate
Origin of climate
Middle English climat ; from Old French ; from Late Latin clima ; from Classical Greek klima, region, zone ; from base of klinein, to slope (see incline): origin, originally , slope of the earth from the equator toward the poles
Related Forms:
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. 
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



climate




noun
  1. The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.
  2. A region of the earth having particular meteorological conditions: lives in a cold climate.
  3. A prevailing condition or set of attitudes in human affairs: a climate of unrest.
Origin of climate
Middle English climat, from Old French, from Late Latin clima, climat-, from Greek klimasurface of the earth, region; seeklei- in Indo-European roots.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition Copyright © 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


climate




See also environmentweather
climatographythe science of the description of climate. —climatographer, n. —climatographicaladj.climatologythe science that studies climate or climatic conditions. —climatologistn. —climatologic, climatologicaladj.cryptoclimatethe climate of the inside of a building, airliner, or space ship, as distinguished from that on the outside.hyetographythe study of the geographical distribution of rainfall by annual totals. —hyetographic, hyetographicaladj.meteorologythe science that studies climate and weather variations. —meteorologie, meteorologicaladj. —meteorologistn.microclimatology1. the study of minute gradations in climate that are due to the nature of the terrain. 2. the study of microclimates or climates of limited areas, as houses or communities. —microclimatologist, n. —microclimatologic, microclimatologicaladj.phenologythe branch of biology that studies the relation between variations in climate and periodic biological phenomena, as the migration of birds or the flowering of plants. —phenologistn. —phenologic, phenologicaladj.
Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


climate




Noun
(plural climates)
  1. The long-term manifestations of weather and other atmospheric conditions in a given area or country, now usually represented by the statistical summary of its weather conditions during a period long enough to ensure that representative values are obtained (generally 30 years).
  2. (figuratively) The context in general of a particular political, moral etc. situation.
    Industries that require a lot of fossil fuels are unlikely to be popular in the current political climate.
Related terms
Verb
(third-person singular simple present climates, present participle climating, simple past and past participle climated)
  1. (poetic, obsolete) To dwell.
Origin
From French climat, from Latin clima, from Ancient Greek κλίμα (klima, “inclination”), from κλίνω (klinō, “to slope, incline”) (from which also cline), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (English lean).
English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA license.

Sentence Examples

» more...

  • This part of Arkansas had a mild climate, winter and summer.
  • Your shell has to shed wind, water and snow to maintain a warm and dry climate inside.
  • The climate in the south at this time of the year was probably hot, but surely it couldn't hold a candle to the week she had spent in the desert.
  • They exchanged news and details on the climate differences and finally, when they were talked out, they said their good byes.
  • It is the chief health resort of the state, and its climate is one of the finest in Australia; it has a mean annual temperature of 58.6° F., and the summer heat is never excessive.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"My Passion" Poetry Competition

Well, the poems have been sent in and judged, with the winners announced at the Gawler Poets at the Pub event at the Prince Albert Hotel, Gawler. Two of those receiving a Special Mention were there on the day, to receive their certificates, and to read their poems to those in attendence.

Cheques and certificates for others will be posted out tomorrow. Many thanks to those who entered this annual competition. There will be consideration soon on the possible theme for the next poetry competition, and the entry form and guidelines will be posted to this site later on this year, probably around August.

This is what the Judge had to say about this poetry competition:

Judges Comments

              “My Passion” Poetry competition run by the Adelaide Plains Poets Inc.

General Remarks.

Firstly let me say that I was very honoured to be asked to judge your competition and I undertook the task with a certain amount of apprehension for while I have entered quite a few poetry competitions, I have never judged one before!

That over I'll commence my task. Overall, I was very impressed with the general standard of the entries, especially those of the younger writers which augurs well for the future of poetry writing   in this and the wider community.

I do have some general comments about poetry writing which I hope you won’t mind me passing on as they come from my own experience!

Firstly – try to avoid rhyming, as this can be a trap for the unwary. If you are a very experienced and established writer by all means go for it but its restraints are humungus! It prevents a free flow of emotion and ideas unless in very skilled hands and an inexperienced poet quickly finds that the rhyme dominates their thought processes and feelings which is death to a potential poet, I believe.
Secondly rhyming can turn your poem into something lightweight when you really want a greater impact and at its worst can create what started off as a good idea into doggerel – so all I'm saying is – beware! Poets from all age groups fell into this trap I think and did themselves a disservice in the process.

My next comment is about relevance.  Your competition clearly asks for poems about “My Passion” and a couple of entries made only vague reference (if any ) to this and that didn't help their cause.
Lastly about passion – all poems should have this as part of them, it's what makes them a good poem, I believe and that quality finally is what helped me make my decisions - that and good writing.
What is good writing? That is a subjective view but I think it's writing that makes you think, sit up and feel and it does it by the way words, phrases, lines, imagery are mixed, blended, juxtapositioned and created.

Primary Section.
One poem stood out as winner of this section – 'T – Ball Knight'. Matthew Elkins
The whole poem is a passionate metaphor of knighthood which is sustained throughout the poem by taut line length, economy of words, imagery and internal metaphors and similes. A fantastic piece of writing by a primary school student.
Who would've thought that a passion for T – Ball could produce a literary work of art?

Secondary Section.
This section proved difficult to judge because there were a number of very good entries. Unfortunately some entries disqualified themselves by straying from the topic or not removing typos and spelling errors! Others found the limiting bind of rhyming hampered their efforts. I was finally able to select four poems  deserving of special mention.  They are – 'A Kiss in an Hourglass' Lauren Davidson, I Do NOT Want To Participate' Jemimah Bye, 'My Passion' Meg Eichmann and 'The Whisper of Words' Brynnie Rafe.
They all addressed the topic of Passion in an amazingly diverse way – passion to write, passion for life and ideas, a passion to be true to oneself and romantic, physical passion. They all used imagery,  line length and blank verse poetic structure to great advantage so that the message of their poem is impacted on the reader.

 However there has to be an outright winner for this section and it is, 'A Kiss in an Hourglass' Lauren Davidson.  This poem also carries a metaphor throughout and the writer continues to refer to this imagery throughout what is quite a short poem. This poem intrigues with its deceptive simplicity of structure but depth of sensuality. The poet uses the hourglass image to evoke a sense of time savoured but also lost in an intensity of momentary physical love. I think it is a very mature poem for this age group and the topic is handled sensitively and beautifully. Well done!

Open Section.
I also found this section extremely difficult to whittle down to a short list.  Once again the temptation to rhyme plagued this section too with similar consequences.
However there were a number of excellent entries and I have to make special mention of the following – 'I caught Enthusiasm' Alison Barker, 'Viva Verdi' Shelley Hansen (a rare example of rhyming well handled!), 'all passions spent' Avril Bradley, 'Occasionally' Jan Price, 'Tea Leaves' Darrelle Spenceley, 'My Passion', 'Arrival of the Lost Sketch Book' Anna Jacobson, 'Passionfruit' Bruce Greenhalgh and 'The Quest' (also a well-structured rhyming verse!) Shelley Hansen. Which only goes to show you need to be an experienced poet to rhyme successfully and produce good poetry – it can be done!

 I finally came down to two wonderful but very disparate poems one of which – would you believe rhymes!! They are 'The Quest' Shelley Hansen and 'Arrival of the Lost Sketchbook' Anna Jacobson. I believe they are equal first prize winners in this section.

Firstly 'The Quest'. This poem is very reminiscent of the skill, style and language mastery of the famous English poet Rudyard Kipling. The poet's management of rhyme, metre, metaphor and alliteration creates a propelling rhythm and a passionate philosophical message that races along carrying the reader with it.

 The poem appears deceptively simple in structure but is in fact quite complex. It uses an a,b,c,b rhyming pattern and a terse alternating10 syllable/9 syllable line in each four line stanza in this ten stanza poem. To sustain this throughout the poem while retaining the emotion, narrative and impetus  as well as the reader right in there with you, is a great achievement I think.

''Arrival of the Lost Sketchbook' is quite a different kettle of fish. Where 'The Quest' was fast paced, forthright and propelling this one is the reverse. It is reflective, reminiscent and quiet, yet full of brilliant colour and passionate memory. The poet uses many beautiful descriptive phrases to bring the thoughts of the subject of the poem to life.

The writer portrays in this narrative poem an elderly artist crippled with possibly arthritis who was once a painter of vividly coloured and exhilarating works. She discovers an old sketchbook and her memories of her past skills and achievements come flooding back in the excitement of her long remembered creativity and the rainbow hues she used.


The writer has captured not only the brilliant colours but also the textures and mediums the artist used to work in. The poet give the reader a sustained portrait in which the subject of the poem traces over the pastels and paintings and charcoal drawings captured in the sketchbook  reliving where she was and how she felt at the time she did each piece captured in it. The poem ends as the artist closes the sketchbook, her fingers imbued with the colours she's been tracing. This is a moving poem of talents lost and memories retrieved told in simple but luminous three line stanzas.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Poetry in Pubs?

Have you ever thought about where poetry could happen? Libraries certainly have poetry occurring, in terms of books on shelves, workshops and book signings. Where else could there be poetry happening? Bookshops, certainly you can find poetry happening there too.

Schools have poetry being taught to students, both reading the poems of established poets, and the writing of new poetry by the students. Poetry happens in homes, reading and writing too. Where else could you find poetry happening, do you think?

One place, probably my favourite place where poetry happens, is in pubs! There are poetry readings going on in pubs in Australia and in Ireland, and probably other countries too. I know about the Poetry @ the Pub because I'm involved in a monthly event in one pub, and have been for many years.

The Poets@thePub I know about is the event that happens in the South Australian town of Gawler on the last Sunday of every month except December. The action starts at 2pm and goes on until 4 pm. This event has been going on for almost twenty years. It was started by Martin Johnson, a keen poet who has become an icon in the town of Gawler.

Martin has given poetry back to the people, holding poetry readings in a variety of pubs, forced to move on as pubs changed hands or closed down. The last pub Martin had the poetry readings at was the Prince Albert hotel, on Murray Street. Then Martin felt he'd had enough of the poetry game and wanted to give more back to his music.

Fortunately a committee of dedicated attendees of the Gawler Poets @ the Pub got together and took over from Martin. They did a good job, and the numbers of poets coming to the PA once a month kept up. Two of the committee members have had to move on, but the remaining two are still extremely keen to keen the poetry happening at the PA Hotel.

There is an anthology produced every year, with the best of the poems read from each poet chosen published. This anthology is a fine record of contemporary poetry. The quality varies a little bit perhaps, but the standard is still very good. The annual anthology is a great book to add to anyone's poetry bookcase!

The Gawler Poets@thePub often has a guest poet, where the guest is given fifteen minutes to read their works and talk about their poetry. There have been poets from other countries and from interstate too. It certainly looks like Gawler Poets@thePub will keep on going for many years to come!

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Judges comments 2012 'Crossroads' competition

Cross roads: Judge’s Speech

Among the almost seventy poems submitted by adults, nine stood out. Two --- ‘Sticks and Bones’(by Heather Lunney NSW) and ‘Atticus Forby’ (by Terrence Mohr SA)--- dealt with individuals struggling with identity. Both rhymed and were fine poems. I certainly commend them, as I do ‘Blackberry Pies’(by Beverly Lello VIC) and ‘The Wrong Woman’(by Gaylene Carbis VIC) which dealt with cars. The most curious poem, also commended, was ‘Wystan Hughes walks past the Musee de Beaux Arts and drops into a nearby blues club’ [after W H Auden] (by Mike Hopkins SA), an accomplished, witty and entertaining piece which Auden would have appreciated.

Now we get down to the Highly Commended poems of which there are two. ‘Pandora’s Box’ (by Shelley Hansen QLD) is a thought provoking piece applied skillfully to the set topic with an uplifting ending. It is, if anything, an Ode to Hope. ‘Crossroads’ (by Janet Upcher TAS) is a tender, sensitive poem with some original imagery. It depicts that moment that all parents and grandparents know when the child becomes an adult stepping out into the adult world. It is a time of celebration and loss. Conventionally rhymed, it is beautifully and achingly realized.

In sharp contrast we have one of the two equal prizewinners ‘do you take this man?’ (by David Campbell VIC) which reminds me of the poetry of Anna Walwicz .It has a strong narrative drive mingled with stream of consciousness. It is hot and scarifying. This poem hit me from the very start. I knew it would be a finalist. It makes powerful reading.

The other equal first prize winner is ‘The Water Tower, Tailem Bend’ (by Meryl McDougall SA). I have a soft spot for water towers though the writer would not have known this. It is a very accomplished poem which melds current concern for the river with the legend of Ngurunderi with which I am not familiar though the story is sketched in the poem. It is an environmental piece with some clever imagery. The poet maintains full control over its fifteen rhyming stanzas. It never falters.

Now to secondary schools. Of the nine submissions, one stood out and it’s worthy of First Prize. ‘An Offer Not to be Refused’(by Talia Walker NSW) deals with that crossroad moment when one is offered his or her first cigarette. It is the sinewy, conniving, persuasive voice of temptation with which we are all familiar . There are some clever, original images in this macabre, sarcastic piece. I loved it!

There were only two primary entries neither special in any way.

I enjoyed reading and judging these entries and want to thank the organisers for giving me the opportunity. To all those who submitted, the best of wishes in your future writing endeavours.

John Malone