'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, January 27, 2010

Poetry Reading - Gawler

On Sunday 31 January, history will be happening. The Gawler Poetry at the Pub readings begin under new leadership, and the first one is going to be fantastic I think.

There will be the guest poet - Teri Louise Kelly, and Eddy Burger and Maurice McNamara will drop in on their way back home in Melbourne. Add to that the usual great poets plus some who have said they'll come up from the big smoke in Adelaide, and it should be a good crowd.

Anyone can read their own poetry there, just pay your gold coin donation and put your name in the book. There will be a raffle, great staff, enthusiastic committee members and lots of fun. Bring two copies of your poem, if you want you work to be considered for the annual Poetry Reader and don't forget to put your name on your poems!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bush Slam, Some People Just Don't Get It!

I just read about one viewer of the ABC's wonderful Bush Slam program, who was outraged that there were non-rhyming poems on the show! After I stopped tut-tutting and shaking me head, I heaved a heavy sigh. Not that old one again! 'If it doesn't rhyme, it's not poetry!' Rubbish!

If someone writes or performs something and calls it poetry, then it is poetry! It truly is that simple. Poetry in the bush takes many forms, not just the bush ballad form so loved by people in love with Patterson and Lawson. And the Bush Slam television show was created to introduce the city to the country, and judging by how the country people in the show have voted, they have been loving the poetry that connects with their lives. They weren't fussed about the rhyming or not rhyming in the poem, they were concerned about the connection.

A good poem is a poem that reaches out and says something to you. This is what Bush Slam has done, and I congratulate the ABC so much for producing this show.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bush Slam Our ABC

Well Aunty ABC has done something wonderful! They've brought the country and the city together and shown the wonders of the former to the rest of Australia. This program on channel Two and 7.00pm is an absolute treasure, once to follow and view over and over again.

The poets connect with the town they visit for three days, write a poem about the town and have their work judged by the people of the town. It is clever, sincere, moving, wonderful. I commend the ABC for having to courage to run with this wonderful program and I hope they do another series, and another, and another!

Aunty, you've done us proud and I thank you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Entries closed!

The entries for the Life, the Universe and Everything competition have closed. Stay tuned to this site for more information. I can tell you that the winners will be announced at the March poetry reading at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler.

I am quite please with the quality of the entries received, but I am sad that teenagers don't seem to think it's cool to go in a competition where they can express themselves and be listened to attentively by at least two adults, me and the competition judge. And hey, there's money in it too!

I am hoping for a better response for the next poetry competition that Adelaide Plains Poets Inc have. Details will be on this website later on this year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Poetry competition closing date extended

The closing date for the Adelaide Plains Poets 'Life, the Universe and Everything' poetry competition has been extended to 15 January 2010.

That is it. If the entry isn't wending it's way to the competition secretary by then, you've missed out and you'll have to wait until later this year for the next competition.

Entries are rolling in well enough, not as well as last year, but there have been some wonderful poems cross my desk. Thanks to everyone who has entered this competition and supported Adelaide Plains Poets Inc over the years they have been doing this.

I'm a bit excited about the next competition and rest assured, details will be on this website as soon as they are available.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Poetry Competition Closing Soon!

Adelaide Plains Poets Inc remind all Australian poets that the 2010 Poetry Competition closing date is 8 January 2010. So basically, if you want to enter the competition, you need to get your entry in soon.

The entry date might be extended a little, because of the postal issue around Christmas time, but entries that arrive too late will be returned to sender.

There is a prize pool of over $500.00, and classes for adults, primary school students and high school students. If you want to put an entry in, simply cut and paste the entry form and send it in with your poem/s along with the entry fee (for adults only, no entry fee for student classes).