'Freedom' competition Judge's Report


By Jude Aquilina

I felt privileged to be the judge for a competition with such an important and inspiring theme as FREEDOM. Thank you to all the poets who entered – you reminded me of the many different forms that freedom can take. These included: freedom from war; freedom of speech and thought; freedom in retirement and through travel; through bushwalking and horse riding; freedom from a refugee’s point of view; freedom in nature; freedom from abuse, racism and ageism; freedom through religion and freedom through zen; freedom in self-sufficiency and going off the grid; even freedom in death from suffering and freedom to reunite with loved ones in the afterlife. Congratulations to the competition organisers for choosing such a wide-ranging and thought-provoking theme.

The quality of the poetry was extremely high, in every section, making my job as judge difficult. Many more poems than I can mention deserve praise. And I was especially thrilled to read so many amazing poems by school students. I know the future of poetry is in good hands.


In the Primary School Section I chose four poems to Commend:

· Feeling Free (1) Lorena Burford - Horizon Christian School

· Freedom (18) Amelie Kowald – Domino Servite College

· Camping Moment (3) Sophie Manuel - Horizon Christian School

· Waking up on Saturday (8) Benjamin Trinkle – Domino Servite College

And I chose the poem The Freedom to Read (17) to Highly Commend Kezia Ziegelmann – Domino Servite College

For Third Prize, I chose a poem titled Charlotte and her eggs (6) Alexandra Hill – Tea Tree Gully Primary School – a clever and unusual poem, with rich poetic language and apt use of the senses.

For Second Prize, I chose the poem titled Freedom in Science (14) Wesley Trinkle – Domino Servite College – this enthusiastic account of the freedom, wonder and creativity in science, had me thinking and kept me smiling. This young poet has captured the thrill and passion in engaging in creative thoughts and experiments.

First Prize goes to a poem titled Freedom for me (16) Brandon George – Domino Servite College - a beautiful and vivid poem about finding freedom in the Australian countryside, when, I quote, ‘the evening shines like brass’. With images like this, I was transported me to another place. Congratulations to a poet with a talent for painting word-scapes!


In the Secondary School Section I chose three poems to Commend:

· The Beautiful Word (25) Amal TlaaOur Lady of the Sacred Heart College

· What is it? (28) Olivia Hayes – Domino Servite College

· I wanted to fly in the beautiful sky (12) Jasit Kaur – Domino Servite College

And I Highly Commended three poems:

· What happened to our acceptance? (6) Chloe Wightman – Domino Servite College

· Freedom is a funny word, isn’t it? (5) Jesse Blakers – Hawker College

· Why would you wear something so inappropriate (4) Freya Cox - The Friends School

For Third Prize in the Secondary School Section, I chose a poem titled Freedom Lies in Being Bold (8) – Aimy Tran - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College - a mature, intelligent poem that is a reminder of what women have achieved, and what is yet to be achieved in regards to equality. This is a bold and thought-provoking poem.

I chose, for Second Prize a poem titled A white blanket laid over Syria (13) – Rabjot Kaur - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College The poem relates vivid images of human suffering and gives the war in Syria a human face. This is a memorable, emotive poem that does not shy away from truth; an important narrative that needs to be written and read.

First Prize is awarded to a vivid lyrical poem simply titled Freedom (2) – Maya Chromik – Horizon Christian School. This poetic list of images captures the sense of freedom that we, here in Australia, are fortunate to enjoy free of charge, like, I quote ‘collecting stars at night’ and ‘finding dirt roads that lead to the unknown. This clever poet has put together a collage of positive experiences to capture the theme of Freedom in a clever and resonating way. Congratulations!


In the Open Section, there were many great poems that addressed the theme of Freedom in quirky ways like the three poems I award Commendations:

· The Cost of Zen (55) Helen Thurloe

· a peregrine falcon (86) Claire Albrecht

· Child of My Heart 928) Shelley Hansen

And I Highly Commended four outstanding poems:

· 1976 (no number) Stephen Smithyman

· Strawberries and Poppies (25) Donna Edwards

· Advance Australia - Fair (29) Chris Richardson

· Moon meeting (62) Nina Scott-Bohanna

Third Prize in the Open Section goes to a poem titled Free at Last (80) Tom McIlveen that takes the reader back to early Australian convict history. Rhyme, rhythm and meter are employed to effect; with this style suiting the era. I also enjoyed the authentic voice and dark humour.

I awarded Second Prize to a poem titled Transitions (84) Kerry Harte an ironic poem with moments of dark humour. The poem is about reading a shiny brochure for a nursing home, in which, I quote, are ‘The faces of the people … bright and bubbly as champagne’. I like this poet’s unfaltering tone and apt imagery.

First Prize goes to a poem titled, Freedom wakes me in the morning (69) Rhonda Cotsell It was a joy to read this intelligent, compassionate take on the theme. The poet focusses on the small things that mean freedom but also encompasses the big picture. This poet has captured the intangible, the essence of what freedom is and what it means. Congratulations to this brilliant poet. May freedom continue to wake you in the morning.

Thank you, Carolyn and the Adelaide Plains Poets for this enlightening experience.

Jude Aquilina


As the President of Adelaide Plains Poets, I thank the judge and of course all of the entrants in this competition, where we received well around 130 poems from around Australia, based on our broad topic of Freedom. As the Competition Secretary I say thank you to all of the lovely poets who sent their work to me and kept me entertained as I read the poems as that came to me in the mail, or by hand. And of course thank you to the teachers involved, keeping love of language alive in the young people they work with every day at their work!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Competition is judged, life moves on

So the Adelaide Plain's 'Freedom' poetry competition has been judged, awards handed over, or in the post, and now the next thing is approaching fast. The annual poetry brings out wonderful poetry, competing to be the best of the best, all around Australia.

And my, was the best certainly the best. If you read the Judge's Report, you can see that Jude Aquilina was definitely of the opinion that these poetry entries were quality poems. As the competition secretary, I agree. I felt the overall quality of the entries was outstanding, and many poems could have been the winners.

Entering competitions though, means that you may not win ... And of course on another day, or under another judge, another poet may have won. I would not have liked to have to try to choose between poems for this event, there was only very little between the entries. I did enjoy reading all of the poems sent to me, in my position of Competition Secretary - all of those wonderful poems sent to me in the mail, and I didn't have to pay a thing for the privilege!

I thank all of the poets who sent work in, and congratulate the winners. I also thank the teachers who helped and encouraged their students to enter this competition, and all of the other things they do to encourage the writing of poetry. Poetry and the writing and reading of it can open the young mind to many different things, and with the thinking on different things, comes knowledge and understanding.

Helping young people in this way is surely a wonderful thing for the students initially and for the entire country. Having young people growing up and moving into the workforce, when they are open to many different ideas and options, surely that bodes well for us all!

Monday, November 21, 2016





1st, 2nd & 3rd cash prizes, plus Highly Commended & Commended certificates as awarded by judge. Total prize pool over $700



  • Work entered in this competition must be original, in English, unpublished and not have won a prize in any other competition. Authors retain copyright.
  • Theme ‘Freedom’
  • Poems entered must in some way refer to the theme
  • Open Class - poets 18 years & older
  • Junior classes –
    • Primary School student (one poem only)
    • Secondary School student (one poem only)
  • To maintain anonymity, entrant’s name should appear on entry form only, not on poems. Entry forms are to include entrant’s name, address, phone number, titles of poems submitted.
  • Entries should be typed, on one side of paper only, one poem to a page
  • Poems to be no longer than 60 lines
  • Entry fees: Open class $10 for first poem, $5 for every poem entered thereafter
            Junior classes - no entry fee, only one poem per student
  • Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc
Or electronically using these details: BSB 105-009 Acc 105 954 340 (please give poet’s name with electronic  payment)
  • Entries to: Competition Secretary, 1594 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
  • Entries to be received by close of business 13 April 2017 – entries received after this date may not be considered for the competition.
  • Authors should retain a copy of their work

For further details contact:

Ms C Cordon 0418 806 490








Title of poem/s - ……………………………………………………..
(use back of page for additional entries)

Entrants’ names or other details must not appear on poems

Declaration by author: I agree to comply with the Entry Guidelines and declare that the written work submitted in my name is my own original work and has not been copied in part, or in full, from any other source.

Author’s signature…………………………………..date…………………...
Date of birth (if entering junior section) ………………………… Secondary School/Primary School
Name of school (if entering junior section) ……………………………            (circle as appropriate)
Entry fees: Open class $10 for first poem, $5 for every poem entered thereafter (OPEN CLASS ONLY – NO FEE FOR JUNIOR ENTRIES)


Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and sent with entries to Competition Secretary, 1594 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
Or electronically using these details: BSB 105-009 Acc 105 954 340
Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a stamped self-addressed envelope, and a written request.

Monday, September 5, 2016

My New Poetry Collection

Today the postie brought me some lovely mail. One of the pieces was an event invitation, the other was a book. The event isn't relevant to poetry at all, but the book sure is. The book was my first copy of my newest book - a poetry collection, published by Ginninderra Press, a fine South Australian publisher, which many of my b=clever writer friends have been published by.

I've wanted to become a Ginninderra writer, and now I finally am one, hooray to me! My book is "Tense & Still", and is a book of my poetic thoughts about the creatures in my life, from the dogs I love, to cats, rabbits, lambs, foxes, insects, lizards, and a variety of less lovely critters. I don't hesitate to look at the darker side of living, and that is the sometimes bloody end, when creatures may die, as we all will, in the end.

I don't hide from death, and I'd like to think this book may be a way to help older children to think about both life and death. I would love to take this book into classrooms, and discuss these matters at some stage ...

Life and death, are both real, and there is no way to hide from either one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Playing games with Haiku

Today I was thinking about a new form of Haiku. Or it may not actually be a 'new'; form at all, I don't know. I'm prepared to hear what others think about my ideas concerning Haiku in Australia. I will call this form AussieKu or perhaps Ausku.

This form is about the idea of writing haiku which are Australian. Australia is a great big country, and many of the things about Australia are unique to our land. The wide open lands, where a kangaroo hopping past with her baby or babies in her pouch can certainly be there in the paddocks, by the roads, in the bushland ...

So this line of thinking jumped into my mind this morning when three crows flew overhead, calling as they went,  and then began circling overhead, above a paddock not far from my house. I thought about sheep in the paddocks, and the new lambs I've been seeing in these past few weeks, and a small poem was suddenly in my head.

This is an edited version of the initial poem:

The crows overhead
cawing, then circling over lambing ewes ...
Faaaaak, faaaark!

I've lived in the country long enough now, to imagine the mayhem that might occur, if one of the ewes were to get into trouble as they bring their new lambs into the world. Childbirth can be a worrying time, whether you're human or an animal. My heart aches for the bloodied babe that becomes a victim of Nature at its further bloodiest times.

I may not be a farmer, and for that I am often thankful, but I am a caring person, and I have been a small animal breeder in my past. Every new creature is a blessing, and every life is to be helped as much as possible. Farming is all a gamble though, and Mother Nature doesn't care either way, I don't think. Lamb or crow, it means everything, and it means nothing to Mother Nature ...

So what do you think? Do you have thoughts about any of this? I'd love to read about your thoughts ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poetry is Many Things

Hi, I've been thinking about poetry, and enjoying the way my thoughts have been going. Poetry is indeed many things, and I wrote the following on a friend's Facebook page recently, in response to " Writers Write"


By posting that, what was I trying to put across? My initial thoughts were just to play with the word/words. That's certainly one of the ways at looking at it. But poetry is many things, and playing can lead to doing, and can lead further to presenting in a variety of different ways.

I've been thinking about identity lately, in response I suppose to the Gawler Friends of the Library poetry competition with Identity as its theme. Who am I? What do I do? How do want others to think about me? How do I want to think of myself?

Last week, thoughts like these led me to thinking about, and then writing a 'Rap-style" poem. The poem felt so good to write, that I felt I had to share it with others, so that's what I did on Monday. I'm the "Writer-in-Residence" at Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery three times a week, and Mondy is one of my days there.

I printed out my Rap, on card rather than paper, and in a larger than usual font, so I could more easily read my words, and keep them handy as needed. I read that poem at least five times on Monday, and apparently, every time I read it, I got more into the "Rapper" mode.

So who am I? Wife, mother, writer, dog lover

- yeah sure, I'm all of that. But I'm a Rapper now too, and I'm sharing my word with all of my Sistas, fighting to get the word out about who they are, what they want, all of those things - we all have lives and stories to tell, and don't get in our way, dude, 'cos we are on our way to GOOD things!

Haiku, rap, villanelle, ballads, these are all poetry, give them a TRY and you may be thrilled with the results.