Distinguished guests and others, I welcome you here today to celebrate contemporary Australian Poetry. Poetry has been a part of the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival from the beginning, in 2005. That year there was a travelling bush poetry workshop with noted Owen Bush Poet Ann Rogers, and with a Bush Poetry competition. In the years that followed, the poetry reins were taken up by a new group Adelaide Plains Poets, with themed competitions ranging from Birds of the Adelaide Plains, to Country Pubs and the Bush, Homesteads and Tin Sheds and Everything in Between, and this year, Tracks and Trails.
We’ve received record numbers of entries in the Adult section this year, nearly cracking the ton, so if anyone tries to tell you poetry is dead, I’m here to tell you it’s thriving, all across Australia! This years’ competition attracted poems about racing cars, youth suicide, insects, stars, trains and a huge range of things in between.
There were disappointing numbers of entries in the junior sections, but we will continue to hold these sections, which raise no money, unlike the adult section, because Adelaide Plains Poets think poetry is important for young and old.
Next years’ competition is already being planned, with both a judge and theme chosen. The judges name will remain largely secret, but I have great pleasure in telling you the next theme will be "Life, the Universe and Everything", the phrase made famous by the late writer Douglas Adams with his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series of books.
So, no excuses now for not knowing what to write about. Anything goes! Entries will open in the third term of the school year, and with any luck some more students will have a go for 2010. If you know of any kids who like poetry, get them involved, they might be amongst the winners next year!
Willaston poet Helen Lindstrom has recently had her first poetry collection, Cold Comfort published. It was launched in Gawler last Sunday to a large and appreciative crowd.
Today you can get yourself a signed copy of Helen’s new book “Cold Comfort”, as well as a copy of the two anthologies Adelaide Plains Poets have published, or a copy of the little book “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs”, written by me and illustrated by local artist Allyson Hean, who also illustrated the two anthologies.
Helen’s book is $15.00, the others are going for whatever you want to pay above $5.00.
And now it’s time for the open mic session. We’ll start with Helen reading, then I will read two of my works that meet the Tracks and Trails theme, then we’ll work through the names in the book! If you’ve brought a couple of poems along, and you haven’t written your name down yet, now is your chance!
And I ask you to fill in the survey kindly provided by the organisers of the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival – the information they receive will help with the next Adelaide Plains Cup Festival.
1st place - Millipedes, by Sharon Kernot, SA
2nd place - Train Strike, by Suzi Mezei, Vic
3rd place - Stuarts Party reaches the Gulf, by Robert Brady, SA
Commended - The Murray street Schmozzle, by Brad Slate, SA
Special Mention - The Women Walkers of Hahndorf, by Max Merckenschlager, SA
District Council of Mallala winner - Ant Tracks, by Gabriele Hansen
Wakefield Regional Council - Tracks and Trails, by Joy Woodroofe
Primary School Section
1st place - Tracks and Trails - by Grace Cummins,
Holkschter Award (best poem that refers to the dog)
The Hunting dogs, by Robyn Peck, Vic