'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!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Finding Poems Wherever They May Be

Different poets have different ways to find new poems. Some rely on their muse to drop by every now and then, and drop some words and hints that may become a poem. Others dedicate a certain amount of time every day, and struggle with putting words together to form a poem.

In the past I've tended to let my muse come and visit whenever it can, and been thankful if I can write a poem eventually. This month  though has been different. This month I signed up for the Month of Poetry, run by Queensland poet Kathryn Apel.

For the Month of Poetry, which is running for all of January 2012, Kathryn asked poets to decide whether they were prepared to sign up to submit one poem every day of January, or otherwise, sign up to submit a poem occasionally.

In a possible fit of madness, I signed up to write and submit a new poem every day. This has been an interesting exercise, I've never committed to such an intensive writing challenge before. I've always been happy when a poem happens, just flutters by for me to grab and hold. As a consequence, usually I only manage one or possibly two new poems every week.

When I signed up for this Month of Poetry, I wasn't sure if I was capable of managing it, but I hoped I was. As it turns out, I've been able to find a new poem easily most days. On some days I've even written more than one new poem. This is something I'm proud of.

It hasn't been easy, writing some of the poems, and I don't claim they're all masterpieces. One of the great things about doing this challenge though, is that once a poem is posted to the website, the other people involved can critique each poem if they wish to. I've had some extremely valuable tips and ideas for some of my poems, which I've used to edit my poem to make it better. It has been an wonderful group of people who truly want to help create fine poetry.

The other great thing about this is that it's a closed group, requiring a password to access the poems. This means, as far as I understand it, that the poems on the website would not be classified as 'published', making them eligible for submission to publishers or competitions that require unpublished poems. 

With the need to write a new poem every day, I've been finding poems all over the place, writing about my own health issues, my family life, my dogs, responses to images and my own comments written on Facebook, or blogs.

I've written haiku, sonnets, ballads and free verse. Some of the poems are posted on this website, and have received further comments. Some I consider to be practice poems, with no merit beyond keeping my fingers moving to produce lines, with little artistic merit. They were not a waste of time, they were words that needed to be written, perhaps, to make room for better words in later poems.

Anyway, the poem here is my poem for today, 20 January. It received some favourable comments on the Month of Poetry website and I like what it says, so I'm posting in my own Poetry Website. 

The story for this morning's poem goes like this - I wrote a comment on John Malone's Facebook page as I was having my coffee this morning. I liked what I'd written so much I copied the words I liked and pasted them to a blank word doc, then wrote some more words, and played with it all. I liked it enough to post it to the Month of Poetry website.

Then I left it to collect thoughts from others. I had another look at the poem and decided it would be better in two verses. I made the change, and now I'm happy enough with the poem to put it here!

Feel free to read it and leave a comment here! 

Enough time

Every moment in life
is a poem, waiting
for the poet to see it,
think on it,
be with it,
and write down the words.

Every life has enough time
for writing poetry –
you have the potential
for as many poems
as you have moments
in your life.


john malone said...

very true, Carolyn BUT think how many poems there would be if everybody acted on that principle :) could the world take that many poems? would such an output diminish the overall value of poetry?

Sarah K Reece said...

I don't know, a world full of poets could be great fun... think of the conversations we'd have! Lovely poem Carolyn :)

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thank you both for your thoughts on this poem. If everybody acted on the principle surely the world would be a better place?
I agree with Sarah that it could be great fun. I've loved the poetry slams I've been at, with people putting their words and performance skills up there for evaluation, lots of fun.
There have certainly been some cross losers and some angry words behind the scenes, but as far as I know, no blood's been shed!
Sharing poetry is an intimate and lovely thing to do, and I love attending poetry readings to share words with friends.

Jen said...

I think the more poetry the better! I say 'Peace through Poetry!'

If we all followed the lead in your wonderful poem, who would have time for war?

I love this and your others. This is my favorite!

Don't stop!

XO. Jen

If you are Down Under are we Up Over?

Carolyn Cordon said...

Sometimes I look at the news Jen, and it seems your country is way Up Over the Top of sensibleness and sensitivity.

These Republicans carrying on, looking at it from Australia is totally weird and seems so wrong.

We have our political issues here, but...