'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, March 29, 2011

The Great Race Poetry Competition results

Here are the winners:
2010-11 Poetry Comp

Open Section

1st Prize – Julie Morris: The Ghosts of Legends Past

highly commended – Mira Pavlovic: The Great Race

commened – Ray Clift: The Great Race of Earthly Life


1st – Laura Zdanowicz: The Underdog


1st – Sarah Zdanowicz: The Swimming Race

District Council of Mallala Award

winner – Douglas Howard: That Same Feeling

Congratulations to all of the winners. There will be another poetry competition happening this year, with the winners to be announced in the early part of next year.

The entry form and guidelines will be published on this blog when they are released, but here is the sneak preview news about the theme this time - the theme will be a good one - Crossroads!

We can all relate to that one, I'm sure. I know I feel that I arrived at an important crossroad in my life journey when I was diagnosed with a chronic disease with no cure (yet). I could have curled up in a ball and wept all of the time, but I decided to take a positive path and so I'm still here, still doing all I can.

What important crossroads have you come to in life, whether it be love, work, health, sport, family or any other important thing. Get thinking about it and be ready with your best poetic efforts later in the year!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poetry Competition Winners

It's nearly time for the winners of Adelaide Plains Poets poetry competition to be announced. We would be very pleased if you could join us at the next Poetry Reading in Gawler at the Prince Albert Hotel on 27 March at 2.00pm. The winners will be announced at the event and there will also be a guest reader and an open microphone.

So come along to find out if the judge picked your poem, and also bring some more of your poems to read on the day (readers pay a gold coin donation and their poems read may be picked to be published in an anthology at the end of the year).

The judge will give a report on their thoughts about this competition and the entries received. The President of Adelaide Plains Poets will also speak about the competition for this year and will give some news about the competition for next year.

The Gawler Poets at the Pub is an event that is rapidly gaining new fans, and we hope you might become a fan too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Different Styles of Poetry

There are many different styles of poetry, from serious and lengthy odes to silly and rude limericks. Some poets always write rhyming poetry, some write free verse non-rhyming poetry. Other poets, and I'm one of them, write in a variety of different poetic styles.

The chosen form of a poem may be dictated by the rules of a poetry competition, or it may be written in a particular form as a game to see if you can do it. One poetic form, the villanelle, is a tricky form that I have written in just to see if I could do it. I tried it and liked it, but it's not an easy game. Writing limericks is easier, and lots of silly fun too!

The villanelle poem that is best known to people is one by Dylan Thomas that begins 'Do not go gentle into that dark night...' You can read more of this poem and more about this form of poetry here.

If you are interested in exploring poetry and poetic forms some more, I suggest you go to this website and read about many of the forms on offer. Your will also learn about various terms that have a specific meaning when talking about poetry. Of course, if you truly wish to learn more about these different forms, you could try writing one, and learn about it from the inside out! You'll learn to respect more, other poets who write well in a structured poem.

A good poem can look simple, but it can be damned hard work making it look so easy.
I hope you are inspired to take a deeper look into the wonderful world of poetry!