'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, October 27, 2010

New Project - Poems about Vegetables

Hello everybody,

I've just today decided on a new project for next year. It will be new and exciting and it will be of benefit to young people and their parents. First, I'll let you know what I need, then I'll explain what it's all about.

OK, this is what I need:

Poems about vegetables, suitable for people under the age of thirteen. Funny poems for preference, but beggars can't be losers - I'd like a broad range of poems. I'm sorry, I have no money, so I can't pay you for using the poem, but I will acknowledge the poets of the poems I use.

Are you intrigued? Are you wondering what on earth this could be about?

Well, this is what it's about. One of hats I wear is the hat of a Community Foodie. As a Community Foodie, it is my role to help people make the best food choices in terms of nutrition. I love poetry too, so I'd love to combine the two things and work with children to explore poetry and vegetables in a fun way.

I want to get a collection of great vegetable poems, some interesting looking vegetables and visit local Primary schools. I will talk about vegetables, ask the students for their thoughts about vegetables, read some of the vegetable poems. Then, I hope, the students will write their own poems about vegetables.

I'd like to have some vegetables for the students to eat, perhaps crudites, or savoury muffins, or something else (ideas most welcome!).

So that's it. I'd like to have some of my own vegetable poems as part of the whole thing, I just have to write them! I have plenty of time still, but, as I said, I need help. If you have a poem, or know of one, please leave a comment here and we can get this project going!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Because a Good Friend Asked me To!

Hello, a dear friend of mine, Tiffany, asked if I'd be interested in answering seven questions about myself and posting them to this website of mine. Tiff had been asked by a friend of hers, and had done it herself. I read what Tiffany had posted on her site and I thought, well why not!

So here goes:

1. What really cheesy/bad TV programme can you not help but watch?
I am so not part of the TV watching vibe! If it’s not interesting to me, I don’t watch it – if I’m watching the TV instead of reading or being on the computer, it’s something good. Oh dear, that sounds so sanctimonious! I love election night TV, is that bad or good; some of it sure is cheesy!?

2. What book you think is terrible, and why.
Um, I’m no biblical scholar, but I don’t like lots of things in the Old Testament. I like lots of the things Jesus supposedly did or said, but that eye for an eye stuff scares me. It is so wrong, lots of the things in the Old Testament are wrong, and the wrongness is taken up by evil people for terrible reasons.

3. What does your bedlinen look like? please feel free to include a photograph
Oh dear, you don’t want to know – our bed linen is an uncharming mix of rumpled rubbish and dog hair. Don’t go there!

4. What is your favourite quality in yourself (you all have them so suck it up and pick one!)
I am a forgiving person. No that’s not good enough. I always put a positive spin on things that happen to me. I am a Positive Polly and proud of it!

5. This one is from Dave - What is the worst injury you have had?
When we were installing our dog kennels I managed to drop my end of the kennel on my foot. It hurt so much I almost passed out, but I stayed there working. I suspect I broke a tiny little bone in my foot, but I’ve never done anything about it – it’s fine now – this happened about twenty years ago. Apart from that, I guess you could say my worst injury was when they sliced me open to take the baby from my womb – they put in lots of staples to close me up and I was incapacitated in a big way. But that was an elective Caesar, no real dramas. I can still see the scar, but I don’t show that one to anybody else!

6. Do you listen to the radio/podcasts often and if yes, what do you listen to?
I listen to ABC Radio National often during the day. If it was up to me, I’d have the ABC on the radio all the time, and only put the TV on a few times a week. I love Life Matters, Bush Telegraph, The Book Show, and so on. If it’s on RN it’s probably good, and even if it’s not good, it’s better than everything else, in my opinion!

7. If you stay in a hotel, do you take the mini bathroom toiletries home with you?
Gee, if I say yes, am I incriminating myself? I’ll just say I rarely stay in a hotel and that I have taken shampoo and conditioner home once or twice. Please don’t arrest me! I’ll pay for it, honest, just send me an account!

There, that didn't hurt too much! I'm glad I've done this, even though it kept me so engrossed in the writing of it that my coffee went cold and now I'll have to drink it cold or go warm it up in the microwave. If I leave it another hour or so it might be refreshing as iced coffee, but it's the first coffee for the day and it really should be at least warm. Damn you Tiffany! (that was a joke!)