'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!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

life, the universe & everything

It's that time of year again poets, Adelaide Plains poets officially launch their poetry competition for 2009/20010. Entries close 8 January 2010, and winners will be announced during the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival in late Feb/ early March.

If you want to have a try at this competition, read the guidelines below, and cut and paste the entry form, then send it to me, with your poem/poems and payment if entering in Open section.

The theme is from "the hitchhikers' guide to the universe" written by Douglas Adams. If you haven't read/seen/heard it, get a hold of it - funny stuff.

So basically your poem has to be about life, the universe and/or everything. If you can't think of anything that meets this theme, you have serious problems and may need professional help! tee hee.

So check out the guidelines and get yourself a bit organised. I know most of you poets will leave it to the last minute (I always do), but I have to tell you, I love getting a constant stream of poems arriving in my mail in the months leading up to the closing date. I don't love getting entries after the closing date.

So there it is, go for it - and pass the info on the anyone and everyone you know who may be interested. We are particularly keen on receiving lots of entries from school students.

payment in Australian dollars only please.


‘life, the universe & everything’

1st, 2nd & 3rd cash prizes, plus Highly Commended & Commended certificates as appropriate. Total prize pool over $500


· Work entered in this competition must be original, in English, unpublished and not have won a prize in any other competition. Authors retain copyright, but the organisers reserve the right to arrange for possible reading of Prize winners’ work at the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival 2009, and selected entries may be published in an anthology
· Theme ‘life, the universe & everything’
· Poems entered must in some way refer to the theme
· Open Class - poets 18 years & older
· Junior classes –
o Primary School student
o Secondary School student
· 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 where possible, on one side of paper only, one poem to a page
· Poems to be no longer than 60 lines
· Entry fees: Open class $5.00 per entry
Junior classes - no entry fee
· Cheques to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc
· Entries to: Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
· Entries to be received by close of business 8 January 2010 – entries received after this date may not be considered for the competition.
· Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a SSAE
· Selected entries may be published in an anthology

For further details contact:
Ms C Cordon (08) 85272412; 0418 806 490; jeebers@bigpond.com



‘life, the universe & everything’




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) ………………………….……….…..
Name of school (if entering junior section) …………………………………….



Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and sent with entries to Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Poetry Group - It Feels like Home

I've just joined a new writing group, and it feels like I have finally found my way home. The group is supportive and caring and we all want to help each other make our writing better.

This is how a writing groups should be - there are no egos pushing their way around, and we are hoping to help each other improve with our writing. It helps that we are all now or have been members of another writing group, so we can discuss the other group in an almost kids being naughty way, which is fun. Well I find it fun anyway - I was such a goodie two shoes at school, it feels fun to call the teacher names now.

Not very adult, I know, but I'm a great believer in the link between our inner child and our creativity.

So, every Thursday night I go off to Gawler and play writing games with my friends. We share stories, poems, heart-felt thoughts, food and wine. It is close to where I live and it is in a beautiful historic part of Gawler.

I recommend to anyone who is thinking of joining a writing group, try to find one that will support you, bot bring you down, and find one close enough to where you live that it won't become a burden to attend the group. The love and the hugs and kisses I receive at my new group makes it feel like I am embraced the whole time I am there.