'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, February 3, 2009

Should Poetry Rhyme?

What are your thoughts on this one?

I would love to see a discussion going on on this question.

Put in your vote and we'll see who wins, rhyming or not rhyming.

We were discussing this at my writing group the other night, and there were some very definite ideas about it. I know what I think and I'd love to know how you look at the whole thing.

So, don't be afraid to vote - we all have the right to our own opinion.

And speaking of opinions, I'd love to know your opinion on the rhyming/non rhyming question.


Carolyn said...

I've put my vote in.

I write a fair amount of poetry (not enough though lol). I feel the poem determines the style the poet uses for each poem.

I've written rhyming and non rhyming, and I like both.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a single poem that I have written that end rhymes, but I do have some internal rhyming and slant rhymes in some, if not many. It is part of the pleasure of language and poetry that I can do that.


Carolyn said...

Lisa, thank you for your comment.
It is true, those internal rhymes chime quietly in our brain, and add to the poem quietly, but strongly.
End rhyming, done without thought beyond getting the rhyme gives a discordant 'CLANG' that adds nothing at all, except for a rhyme. Any moron can rhyme, doesn't make them a poet though.

Carolyn said...

The question is not to rhyme or not to rhyme, but to be poetic when doing
so. More of my own poetry is in rhyming form, with strong meter. But that's
mainly because I subscribe to "bush poetry" (and its many competitions).
Some of the best poems I feel I've written are free-form. Why? Because not
having to fit the discipline of rhythm & rhyme gives me greater freedom to
express what I am feeling/writing. Then again, some of the best poems I feel
I've written are slavingly rhythm/rhyme ones.

An Afghani friend says that poetry is like "putting an ocean into a teacup".
Now that's poetry.

I didn't poll because I needed another choice beside Yes, No and Maybe. I'd
say the argument is not whether it rhymes or not, which is really
irrelevant, (ie, mark me neither yes or no) but whether it's poetic.

Interesting though that people are at least discussing poetry with you!
Max M

Carolyn said...

I voted. No prizes for guessing my answer. I will give you my reasons here in this reply as I couldn't figure out how to do it on your website. I believe that true poetry rhymes simply because to me, if it doesn't it just as well could be someone just writing a string of thoughts, and if you're going to do that you might just as well write a story. To me a poem tells a story but with rhythm and rhyme and that’s what sets it apart from a plain old story. Not a very logical answer but then the fact that the poetry that I encountered as I grew up all rhymed. I don't even like songs whose lyrics don't rhyme. There should be another name for poetry that doesn't rhyme other than a different genre under the same generalisation of poetry.
Suzanne McC

Carolyn said...

I've added a couple of comments emailed to me, to further aid the interest of this topic.

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

Just voted.

You may find this of interest, as I wrote on this topic not long ago:

FREE FORM FUN – on free verse vs. rhyming poetry

Simply Snickers - weekly poetry prompts said...

Thanks for the ADD on F-book.


I would love to have you join us at Simply Snickers - for weekly poetry prompts (posting through Sundays).

Linda N

Carolyn said...

Linda, thanks for your feedback. I enjoyed your Helium article and congrats on the number 1 rating.

I'll check out the other site - weekly prompts might be the kick in the bum I need to get writing, lol!

Carolyn said...

From Carol C
Yes I've noticed the current trend to thumb the nose at rhyming poetry - like it's somehow no longer valid because it's not fashionable anymore. I don't think poetry has to rhyme though, but I'd like modern day poets to consider rhyming poetry as equally valid.

The problem with rhyming poetry, that I see, is that sometimes poets incessantly choose simple words just in order to rhyme, like 'glow', 'flow' etc. & it can be a bit boring. If the rhyme is clever though, using half rhymes at times and maybe breaking the rhyme altogether in an important part of the poem, that's much better and has more impact.

Good luck with figuring out what path you take... I'm enjoying doing both kind.